Lydia Ko’s confidence is growing as she managed to recover ground in the first round of the British Open in Scotland overnight.
In the first major of the year, Ko finished with a 1-over 72 for the round but in windy conditions where only three players finished under par, the result was even more pleasing because she finished strongly with three birdies in the last three holes including on the 18th.
“Definitely nice to be able to finish off with a birdie,” Ko said after her round one performance.
“I was kind of getting a little frustrated leaving 16 with a par. I hit a great drive, probably leaked a 6-iron just a little bit, so to come off that one with a par, and then on 17 I hit a really good 8-iron, but it just — when you’ve got like 60 feet of putt, you can’t be expecting to make a two-putt on all the times you go there.”
Ko trails the leader Amy Olsen by 5 shots but is amongst a massive pack of players at even or 1-over par and feels every tournament is helping get back her confidence.
“I feel like every tournament I play I’m getting more and more confident, and to me, confidence is such a big key,” Ko explained.
“I think especially around links golf you have to be super patient. When it stays like this, bogey is sometimes not the worst thing that can happen to you.
“I feel like last week really helped a lot. I didn’t make a lot of birdies, and I didn’t make a lot of bogeys, either, so when you kind of go on a streak of pars, sometimes you get impatient because you’re coming off from a tournament especially where there were a lot of birdies, but I think you’ve just got to focus.
“There’s probably not a single shot out there where if you don’t have your 100 per cent focus there you’re probably not going to hit a good shot.
“I just tried to stay pretty patient and positive, and I think the big key is especially with the fescue and the bunkers, just keep it in play, and if you are out of position, take your medicine and kind of work your way from there.”
In her fourth appearance in the prestigious championship, Amy Olson was the only player in the 144-strong field to break 70 in a cruel day on the links that brought many major champions to their knees.
Playing at around a four-five club wind for most of the day, the bright and breezy conditions were slightly easier in the afternoon although, the late starters did endure some hostile rain to balance it out.
Speaking after the ‘round of the day’, the American, who ties Juli Inkster (2006) and Mirim Lee (2016) for the largest first round lead in this event, said that she was still hitting the ball well.
“That was the best ball-striking day of my life,” Olson said.
“I kept the trajectory I wanted on every shot and my start lines were really good, which was especially important those first nine holes going out into the wind.”
“Growing up in North Dakota, it gets extremely windy so I grew up playing the ball very low, and I’ve adjusted my ball flight to be higher to be able to play a lot of our Tour golf courses, but I still have the ability to bring it down, and I think that served me very well over here.”
Ko tees off at 6.47pm Friday night New Zealand Time.