The next time you see Lydia Ko on the leaderboard, you might see a different one – because the New Zealander, who has dominated the LPGA Tour for the last five years, is taking a step back.
Ko has been on a gruelling tour schedule over the last two years, breaking 100 wins for the first time last year and breaking the record for the most wins in the first two years of a career.
The 20-year-old from Auckland now admits she is taking a back seat and is playing this week’s British Open at Birkdale as she plays it safe for 2018 with the year-end world ranking looming at the LPGA Championship on Oct. 29-31 in Naples, Florida.
“Sometimes results are so overrated and it’s just about trying to set your mind right to start the season and try to do the best you can do right from the start,” she said.
“I think it’s better I just kind of block the results out for the time being and just try to play good golf because I know when I go out there I’ve got a lot of people expecting me to do great things and that’s not going to make me feel good.”
Ko began her season with three back-to-back wins and 12 LPGA wins in the last 15 months and almost broke into the top 10 in the world rankings but her quest for a title this season didn’t go to plan in July as she finished tied seventh in the Wegmans LPGA Championship.
It was the second missed cut of the season for the dual-veteran, who holds several tour records including record winning streak with 16 events in a row at the 2014 and 2015 ASB Classic events.
The long-hitting Kiwi won the 2014 event in a playoff over No. 4 Stacy Lewis and when the two entered the 2009 event it was contested over a different layout, but both returned to Wellington the following week.
Ko was fourth in 2009, the year Lewis became the only three-time winner on the tour, and won the next two years, including the US Women’s Open title to take the number one ranking.
Ko said she does not think she has over achieved yet as she still believes there are more holes to conquer on the golf course and on tour.
“I still think there are more possibilities for me to win. There’s so many good teams out there and great teams … but I feel like winning is always going to be there. Whether it’s a major or even another tournament after that.”