Lydia Ko Set To Return to Lake Merced GC as No.1 Ranked Player in World
March 11, 2015
Not long after Lydia Ko earned the No.1 world ranking in January with a runner-up finish at the LPGA Tour’s opening Coates Golf Championship, she was greeted by Stacy Lewis.
Lewis, who was previously ranked No.1, wanted to share some tips with Ko.
“Stacy was one of the first to come to me after I got to No.1,” said Ko, who was in San Francisco on Tuesday to help promote what will be the second Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic (April 23-26) at Lake Merced Golf Club. “She told me to not get caught up in all of the hype, and to just focus on my golf.”
Still just 17 years old, Ko is more than happy to take advice from her elders, even the 30-year-old Lewis.
“I like to ask questions,” Ko said. “It’s good to have someone to talk to.”
At last year’s Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic, it was Ko who showed the veterans the way.
In Sunday’s final round, Ko hit a perfect pitch shot onto the 18th green to within six feet of the flagstick leading to an eventual birdie and a one stroke win over Lewis. Having started the day a shot behind Lewis, Ko birdied three of her final four holes on the front-nine on her way to a 3-under 69 and four-day total of 12-under 276.
Looking back, it’s where Ko, born in South Korea and raised in New Zealand, took off.
Along with capturing her first LPGA Tour win as a pro (with a fill-in caddie nonetheless), Ko was named as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME magazine.
A year later, Ko is still cruising at hypersonic speed.
Since her win at Lake Merced, Ko’s accomplishments include:
- Being named 2014 Rolex Rookie of the Year
- Five more LPGA victories, giving her 10 worldwide
- Becoming the youngest No.1 ranked golfer in the world ever, male or female
- Winning the Race to the CME Globe points title, which earned her a cool $1 million.
- She also added a tattoo on her right wrist of the Roman numeral ‘27’. It’s the date (April 27, 2014) that she won her first LPGA title.
“Earlier this year, my dad was like, ‘Is that a tattoo?’ He was probably the last one to find out,” Ko said.
Trying to repeat at Lake Merced GC won’t be an easy feat. The field is expected to be loaded, with all of the Top 10 in the world rankings, including Lewis and No.2 Inbee Park, slated to play.
Along with the lure of The City, there’ll also be a $2 million purse, one of the highest outside of the four LPGA majors.
Now a seasoned veteran herself, Ko said she’s ready to take on the challenge again.
“Having played such a variety of courses now, I’ve gotten used to all the small things, whether it’s Bermuda grass at one course or Rye grass at another,” Ko said. “I just think about one shot, because it’s one shot that matters.”
–Among the highlights of the festivities at Tuesday’s event at Lake Merced was three NCGA Youth on Course members in attendance who got the chance to meet Ko.
When the three YOC members were introduced to the audience as juniors, Ko quickly reminded everyone in the room with a huge grin, “I’m a junior.”
As part of the press conference, the three YOC members—sisters Katie and Nicola Kaminsky and Grace Bettis—were given the opportunity to ask Ko some questions, among them being, what was Ko’s advice was to juniors?
“I think you just have to fun,” Ko replied. Looking for a quality sportsbook company? canadianbet.ca will help you with that. Only the best Canadian sportsbooks! “When you’re having fun you’ll know, and you’re actually kind of more focused. Sometimes I get too frustrated. Having fun and working hard is a good balance.”
–Following the festivities, Ko was taken to numerous San Francisco landmarks, where she proceeded to hit drives with the icons as a backdrop. Among her stops were the Marin headlands above the Golden Gate Bridge.