It has been a crazy year for Lydia Ko. Her victory at the New Jersey Women’s Open, when she made birdies on each of the final four holes, broke her 15-year winless drought. The Canadian’s second victory of the year came at the Evian Championship, where she closed with a bogey-free three-under 69 to finish ahead of the field. A major title did not come until the British Open, at the age of 23.
The consistent performers in the field—Brooke Henderson of Canada, Brittany Lincicome of the United States and South Korea’s Jang Ha-na—fought for the lead. They all went into the final round with the same score of 70-70-71-70, but one had to finish first. Ko was the last to tee off and the third from the 10th hole. It was 0-0 after eight holes, but that changed to 1-1 after 12. Ko held off Henderson and Lincicome, who went double bogey, par, bogey, par.
Here is what Ko had to say about her back-to-back wins after round three.
Is it cool that you’re on a run that has gone 17 tournaments without a defeat?
“Yeah, I guess so. It’s a little weird. But I mean, sometimes results are so overrated. If you can shoot three under in a big event, win and that’s all that matters. You just got to do the right things and enjoy the process.”
Which is the hardest putt you’ve ever made?
“This one on 18 — that one’s probably in the top 10 or 15 most from a putting standpoint, but overall, probably that one at 17 at the Kooyonga. It’s just, everything before the putt just felt like it was going all over the place. And then when I tried to pull it back I just really didn’t get it at all. It’s weird when the first one doesn’t feel like it’s rolling like it should roll, and then when you attempt that second one you’re trying to yank it in as close as you can so you’re seeing your lines so much better, and it just didn’t happen. So that was weird and it was frustrating because I had, that shot that I had to trust, and I just didn’t get it there.”
There were a lot of younger players who were flying out of the blocks early in the tournament, but you started slowly. Was that because of your putting?
“Yeah, it was a good sign early because some of the bigger names, the top, were putting great early on. So it really, really helped my confidence knowing that, hey, I’m at least right in the hunt. You know, there are a lot of good players down the stretch and I was able to make the putts when I needed to make the putts. It’s not like I’m scaring anybody away because of that. I’m playing solid. I’m putting well. I just need to be patient and hopefully we can make a bunch more putts tomorrow.”
You have great expectations for this weekend, aren’t you?
“It’s amazing. It’s crazy. Not being overly emotional, but sometimes on the day before a major a lot of us get emotional, and then the next day we play so well and you can see the difference. So you take that emotion and use it for good. Don’t take it and be negative. That’s the biggest thing is to stay positive. As bad as I was today on my putts, on Friday you can have four chances to birdie tomorrow. So they’re still chances. And you can still get up and down on the 18th hole to win, so there’s still lots of stuff to take with that.”