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Lydia Ko wins the LPGA Mediheal Championship

Posted May. 01, 2018 08:39,   

Updated May. 01, 2018 08:39


From 234 yards away, a three-wood was pulled out for her second shot. The ball landed short of the green, rolled on and stopped around 20 centimeters away from trickling in for an albatross. Then making a 75-centimeter eagle on the par-5 18th hole, Lydia Ko clinched a victory and shed tears of joy. Putting an end to a long win drought, Lydia Ko became the winner of the LPGA Mediheal Championship at the Lake Merced Golf Club (par-72) outside San Francisco on Monday.

Since winning the first LGA tour title at the age of 15 as an amateur player in 2012, Ko had collected as many as 14 titles including her Marathon Classic win on July 18, 2016, even before she turned 20. However, her record-breaking performances had to plateau when she went through a long slump during the following 43 tour events. It was only after 651 days that Ko finally claimed the first trophy in her twenties.

Ko’s win drought was marked by changes in clubs, swings, coaches, and caddies, starting from last year when she turned 20. Some experts said that she must have been experiencing a burnout syndrome because of extreme fatigue and stress accumulated from a young age. There was also a report that her father’s excessive intervention was what drove her to a slump.

“I don’t think I’ve ever cried in the other 14 (wins),” she said. “Jess (Jessica Korda, an American professional golfer) gave me a bottle of vodka for my birthday and she said it’s really smooth. I don’t know if vodka’s ever smooth, so maybe we might open that,” said Ko with a laugh, who turned 21 on last Tuesday.

Besides, the Lake Merced Golf Club has become even more meaningful for Ko. It was where she won the first victory since her debut in the LPGA tour in 2014. To celebrate this, she had the date of her win tattooed on the wrist. In the following year, Ko clinched the second consecutive win for the first time in her professional career at the same golf club.

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com