Lydia Ko has started the first major tournament of the year with a 2-under 70 to be only four shots behind the current leader as the opening day comes to a close at the ANA Inspiration in California.
A tournament and a course that Ko knows well, given this was the scene of her second major championship victory back in 2016, the 23-year-old was happy with her round that included five birdies and three bogeys.
“I thought I played pretty solid,” Ko said following the round. “There was a stretch in the middle where I was struggling to make very good contact with my irons, but I tried to stay patient.
“I feel like every time I made a mistake I was able to kind of make a good bounce-back birdie, so it gives you confidence when you’re in that kind of momentum.
“This was probably the most calm like wind conditions I’ve played this golf course. It was I thought very gettable if you hit it in the right positions.”
With only a handful of players still on the course, Ko was tied for 7th place, four shots behind current leader Patty Tavatanakit of Thailand, a 21-year-old second-year rookie out of UCLA, who shot a 6-under 66 at the Dinah Shore Tournament Course to take an early first-round lead over second-placed Shanshan Feng from China on 5-under.
For Ko, this major is all about patience and she said that’s something she will be working on, alongside trying to enjoy playing and having fun.
“I had a long talk to Sean [Foley] about it. I think it’s such a big key for me, and sometimes when you feel like things are going your way and you’re close run out of patience quicker.
“So I just have to focus on the aspects in my swing or in my game that I can control, and then kind of let the other things be and just make sure that I’m committed and hitting it with full commitment. What happens after that I really can’t do much about it.
“I feel like I’m still on this learning curve to be more patient out there. But it’s a great week, so hopefully I’ve a lot of laughs and lots of patience when I’m playing.