It has been 1,084 days since her last tour victory but Lydia Ko has today broken through for her first win in almost three years at the Lotte Championship in Hawaii, taking the title by seven shots.
After leading by just one stroke overnight ahead of Nelly Korda, Ko continued her stunning tournament form which has seen her drop only one shot over the last 100 holes, today shooting seven birdies and no bogeys on the way to her 28-under total.
Ko shot a 7-under 65 to win by seven shots ahead of Nelly Korda, Inbee Park, Sei Young Kim and Leona Maguire all tied on 21-under.
Ko finished with a par on 18 and then was showered with champagne by her fellow competitors and hugs from her playing partner Nelly Korda and caddies.
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Speaking with the Golf Channel straight after winning Ko showed her relief at finally getting the long-awaited victory.
“There’s obviously a lot of thoughts going through my mind right now,” Ko said. “I know I played some really solid golf coming up to this week. Sean, in particular, has been a huge help to clear a lot of questions and doubt in my mind.
“Honestly coming into Marathon (The tournament she played last year and lost in the final round) I didn’t sleep on the Saturday night, even though I had been in that position before, it had been such a long time, I think I was putting a lot of pressure on myself and I know there were expectations but I slept great last night.
“I thought my fate is already chosen and I’m just going to play the best golf I can today and I hung in there and it wasn’t going to be easy especially around a golf course like this.
“I just continued to stick to my game plan and it proves it to myself that’s the biggest things and I couldn’t be here without my team and my family so I’m super grateful that they are with me along this journey.”
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Ko has now got 16 wins in her career and she is still only 23 years of age, but to go almost three years since a victory must have been playing heavily on her mind and her golf.
“I think when you’re in that position and it doesn’t happen you do doubt. If I said no I didn’t doubt myself at all I think that would be a lie and in my heart, I know there were times that I wondered if I would ever be back in the winner’s circle but I’m obviously grateful for everything that has happened in my career so far and I believe that we are in the position we are meant to be in.
“I’ve just had an unbelievable and fun week here in Hawaii and to be back in that position is obviously super cool and with Jordan Spieth and Hideki Matsuyama winning the last couple of weeks, I know it has been a while since they won as well, that kind of gave me a little bit of a push saying maybe I could follow that trend.
“When you’re playing alongside the best female golfers I know it’s not easy and I’m proud of the way I stayed patient along the way and I know there are still aspects of my game that I need to work on so it’s just keeping it simple and we keep moving forward.”
Check out the Special Digital Edition of NZ Golf Magazine coming out Monday Morning.