LY­DIA’S FO­CUS ON TI­TLE DE­FENCE

Un­der pres­sure World No 1 keeps mind away from rank­ings

New Straits Times - - Sport -

LOS AN­GE­LES I think you’d prob­a­bly be the num­ber one ranked player any­way ... it’s more about con­sis­tency and how many times you can put your­self in con­tention and then some­times be­ing able to pull it off.”

Ly­dia’s missed cut in Carls­bad, which she said came down to a balky put­ter, was just the sec­ond of her pro ca­reer.

But she in­sisted she wouldn’t let it drag her down.

“I’m just go­ing to try and erase last week,” Ly­dia said. “I’m just go­ing to think last week was just an off-week and just move on.”

With her ANA In­spi­ra­tion vic­tory last year Ly­dia be­came the youngest two-time ma­jor cham­pion in LPGA Tour his­tory.

She had be­come the youngest golfer, male or fe­male. to win a ma­jor ti­tle in the mod­ern era at the Evian the pre­vi­ous Septem­ber.

Ly­dia sealed the vic­tory with a two-foot birdie putt af­ter a bril­liant ap­proach shot on the fi­nal hole, beat­ing In Gee and Eng­land’s Charley Hull by one stroke.

“You know, the real spe­cial thing is walk­ing down across that bridge and see­ing all the dif­fer­ent names of these great leg­ends that have walked this path and also jumped in Poppy’s Pond and won this cham­pi­onship,” said Ly­dia.

“That’s the great thing about this event is that there is so much his­tory be­hind it.”

Ariya was in prime po­si­tion to cap­ture her first LPGA win at one of the tour’s most revered venues last year, but she bo­geyed her fi­nal three holes to fin­ish fourth, two strokes be­hind Ly­dia.

She re­bounded with a vengeance, string­ing to­gether three vic­to­ries last May and win­ning back-to-back ti­tles later in the year that in­cluded the Women’s Bri­tish Open.

The Thai snatched LPGA Player of the Year hon­ours from Ly­dia, even though she hasn’t yet been able to nudge the New Zealan­der from the top of the rank­ings.

Ariya said this year that her dis­ap­point­ment at Ran­cho Mi­rage,

“The only way we can ac­cu­rately as­sess their im­pact is to con­duct an ac­tual test dur­ing of­fi­cial com­pe­ti­tion on one or more of our tours.

“We look for­ward to see­ing how these tests go and care­fully eval­u­at­ing the use of the de­vices. Our eval­u­a­tion will con­sider the im­pact on pace of play, op­tics and any other ef­fects they might have on the com­pe­ti­tion.”

The first event to fea­ture the test will be the Costa Rica Clas­sic on April 20-23. AFP was the key to what proved a re­mark­able sea­son.

“I learned a lot, es­pe­cially the last three holes,” she said. “Last year, I just kept hit­ting the ball and tried to do the same thing even though I was ner­vous. I learned that when I get ner­vous, I have to do some­thing dif­fer­ent.”

Ly­dia knows the les­son has made Ariya an even more dan­ger­ous ri­val.

“Ariya played so well last year,” Ly­dia said. “Ob­vi­ously it wasn’t the great­est end to the ANA, but she won a lot af­ter that. She just played con­sis­tently well. She’s go­ing to con­tinue to keep play­ing well and go for those tro­phies.” AFP

Ly­dia Ko is aware her No 1 sta­tus is un­der threat. AFP PIC

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