Ko Jin-young does it again
By shooting a bogey-free round of eight under par, 64, Ko finished the tournament five shots ahead of the runner-up, Nicole Broch Larsen of Denmark.
Starting the final round as co-leader, Ko made her first birdie of the day on the par-4 sixth. Then, she added another on the par-3 eighth. After the first nine holes, both Ko and Larsen were tied for the lead at 20 under par, but a par save on the par-5 ninth changed Ko’s momentum heading into the second half of the round.
Ko hit her second shot into the far-right woods. As the ball was unplayable, she took a one-shot unplayable penalty and took a drop for her fourth shot. Ko didn’t let the situation affect her round as she stuck her fourth shot as close as 4 feet from the hole and successfully made her par putt.
Then, by making back-to-back birdies on the par-4 10th and 11th, Ko pulled out in front. She continued to extend her lead with back-to-back birdies on the par-5 14th and the par-4 15th. Despite already having quite a lead, Ko finished her round in style by adding more back-to-back birdies on the last two holes.
With eight birdies on the last day, Ko finished the tournament at 26 under par, 262.
“I thought when I was walking to the 18th green that the crowd was for Brooke, not me,” Ko was quoted as saying on the LPGA website. “We’re here in Canada and she has a lot of fans. So, Brooke, this crowd is for you. But she said ‘No, it’s for you,’ so we went together.”
With a win, Ko took home the prize money of $337,500. In addition to Sunday’s win being her fourth this season, this is Ko’s sixth career win on the LPGA Tour. In addition to her victory, this tournament is an impressive one as she played bogey free, becoming the first player since Park In-bee in 2015 at the HSBC Women’s World Champions to do so.
Ko is the only player to win four tournaments this season. Before Ko, Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand and Lydia Ko of New Zealand were the last players to win at least four tournaments in a single season. Lydia Ko won four tournaments while Jutanugarn won five in 2016.
“I heard [about the bogey-free streak] from my friend last night,” Ko was quoted as saying on Yonhap. “So I wanted to try to have a bogey-free round for Sunday. I made it. It was cool.”
Ko made her LPGA Tour debut in 2018 after earning her LPGA card by winning the KEB Hana Bank Championship as a non-member in October 2017. As a rookie, Ko won her first official LPGA start in February 2018 at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, becoming only the second player, after Beverly Hanson in 1951, in the Tour’s history to win their debut.
Ko’s second season has proven even more dominant.
This season, Ko is one of the few players to take advantage of the adjusted golf rule. Starting this season, golfers are allowed to putt with the flagstick left in while on the green.
She picked up her first win of the season in March, at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup. Then, just two weeks after, Ko won the LPGA Tour’s first major win of the season, the ANA Inspiration. Along with a win at the majors, Ko also reached the No. 1 spot.
Having played the next three months without a win, Ko added her third victory of the season at the Evian Championship, another major on the LPGA Tour. Ko failed to claim back-to-back major titles by finishing third at the AIG Women’s British Open the following week.
After the British Open, Ko returned to Korea and played a KLPGA Tour event. Once she returned, Ko won her fourth tournament of the season on Sunday. It also allowed her to cement her top spot on the Rolex Women’s World Ranking, which she has held since July 29.
Ko is one of the most consistent players on the LPGA Tour, having never missed the cut throughout 17 tournaments.
Ko was the only Korean golfer to finish in the top 10 this weekend.
After Ko, 2017 champion Park Sung-hyun was the second-best Korean finisher, tied for 20th by finishing the tournament at 11 under par, 277.
The LPGA Tour will continue its season at Cambia Portland Classic in Oregon, starting from Thursday until Sept. 1.
BY KANG YOO-RIM [email@example.com]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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