Top-ranked Lydia seeks more magic
LOS ANGELES: A runner-up finish in last year’s LPGA Founders Cup sparked a back-to-back title run by top-ranked Lydia Ko, who returns this week hoping for more in the season’s first US event.
The 19-year-old South Koreanborn New Zealand star has not won since last July, working on swing changes and even a new putting grip as she tries to remain world number one.
Lydia arrived at Wildfire Golf Club in Phoenix, Arizona, ahead of yesterday’s start coming off top-10 showings in Thailand and Singapore in her past two LPGA events.
“Definitely nice to see some good results the last couple weeks in Asia,” Lydia said. “I hit the ball pretty well in Australia. I really couldn’t score and I couldn’t make the putts... It was nice to see a few drop the last couple weeks.
“To see those kind of good results with all the changes that have happened gives me a little bit of confidence going into this stretch of events.”
It’s a run where she shined last year, going from second at Phoenix to winning the Kia Classic, a title she defends next week, and her second major crown at the ANA Inspiration, a crown she tries to repeat in two weeks at Rancho Mirage, California.
“It’s always nice to be back to a place where you’ve played well,” Lydia said. “I love the west coast. No matter how well I play, I just enjoy these three stretch of events.”
It comes as Lydia is finding success after changing caddies, coaches and equipment providers. She is working on a new swing that goes to the core of her patterns.
“Transition-wise has actually been very easy and pretty smooth,” Lydia said. “I guess the hard part is because I have my old habits and things that I’ve always done since I was like five. Those things will always creep in here and there.”
Lydia also decided it was time to adjust her putting grip this year to a more conventional one.
“I came back from the off-season and said, ‘Man, the left-hand low felt a little different.’ It felt a little uncomfortable,” she said.
“Even short putts for the conventional grip and the numbers were just as good or even better. That was one of the reasons I changed.”
Lydia has been atop the rankings for 73 consecutive weeks, which builds expectations she hopes to fulfil.
“There are expectations — because you’re the number one ranked players you should play well every day, should be in contention every week,” she said. “I would love that and I’m working towards being more consistent week in and week out.” AFP
Lydia working towards being more consistent.