March 10, 2016
No.1 Lydia Ko Returns for 2016 Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic
When Lydia Ko arrived at last year’s Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic, there were some who believed the 17-year-old wouldn’t be able to handle being the No.1 ranked player in the world.
So much for that theory.
On Thursday, Ko was back in San Francisco to promote this year’s Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic (April 21-24) at Lake Merced Golf Club. Still only 18, she’s the event’s two-time defending champion.
As for how the rest of 2015 went, she certainly played the role of being No.1.
Along with defending her Swinging Skirts title, Ko won four other events including the Evian Championship to become the youngest winner of a major. She’d go on to also become the youngest Rolex Player of the Year.
And now she’s set to return to what is one of her favorite LPGA Tour stops. Want to guess who the favorite will be?
“San Francisco has become such a special place in my golf career,” Ko said. “I have such incredible memories of my victories at Swinging Skirts and I look forward to returning to Lake Merced Golf Club for another great challenge.”
Ko, who’ll turn 19 on the Sunday of this year’s Swinging Skirts, has a history with Lake Merced GC. In 2012, she’d compete there in the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship as the No.1 amateur in the world. While she’d lose in the semifinals, less than a month later she won the U.S. Women’s Amateur.
“There is such great support here and I’ve met so many people here in the past. Lake Merced has started to feel like home,” Ko said.
Joining Ko at this year’s Swinging Skirts will be the likes of World No. 2 Inbee Park, No. 3 Lexi Thompson, No. 4 Stacy Lewis and No. 5 Ha Na Jang, who’s become a hot topic after claiming two victories in the first two months of the 2016 LPGA season.
“Obviously there is pressure coming in as a returning champion but at the end of the day I try and block it all and focus on the shot that I need to hit because there are so many things I could be thinking of,” Ko said. “But I just try and think about the shot I need to hit and have fun out there.”
These days, Ko seems to be having fun everywhere. As part of her visit to the Bay Area, on Wednesday she stopped by to meet NBA MVP Stephen Curry and NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala of the Golden State Warriors. Her and Curry even had a little putting challenge.
That was Ko’s advice to junior golfers, including some members of the NCGA’s Youth on Course program who attended Thursday’s presser.
“Enjoying it is the most important thing. I’m trying to enjoy it more and more which doesn’t mean I’m going to practice less or focus more but just trying to enjoy each moment and take a positive attitude towards it,” Ko said. “If you don’t enjoy it, it isn’t worth it because you spend so much time working on it.”
—On Wednesday, April 20, the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic Presented by CTBC will host its inaugural Executive Women’s Day with more than 100 Bay Area female executives. For more information or to attend, please contact Donna Otis at email@example.com.
—Friday, April 22 will be Els for Autism Blue Out Day with players, staff and spectators requested to wear blue in support autism awareness and Ernie Els’ foundation. A special gift from the Els for Autism Foundation will be offered to the first 500 spectators through the gate on Friday.