Ko from LPGA for three years of great golf – Lake County Record-Bee

by | Dec 4, 2021 | LPGA

In our upside-down world, there are some fundamentals that always seem to apply. One of those basics is that numbers don’t lie. In the world of sports, they’re an obvious way of determining size. The number 2,162 is a sign of greatness considering the streak of Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. in back-to-back games. The 1972 Miami Dolphins are a true sign of greatness with their unbeaten 17-0 record. Regardless of your age, Jack Nicklaus is still considered the best golfer as his 18 major championships are more than anyone who has ever made it.

In order not to continue on the topic of numbers, the 2021 golf year gave us another flashy number to consider the size of one of the game’s top linksters. That number is 63. The 26-year-old Korean golfer Jin Young Ko was at stake with her individual season performances, battling with the world’s leading golfer Nelly Korda. Ko and Korda had both won four times on the LPGA Tour this year. This year’s Golfer of the Year race would be limited to the final tournament of the year, the CME Globe race, and its $ 1.5 million prize pool for first place.

Golf tournament results after nine holes are difficult to predict, but a lot can be determined over a course of 63 holes. In the “Numbers Don’t Lie” category, Jin Young Ko faced Nelly Korda on the final 63 holes of the CME Globe LPGA Tour Championship in Naples, Florida. After an initial round of 3 under par 69, Ko tuned in the Jets to score 67 and 66, along with a final of 63 to get a 23 under par aggregate of 265. The end result was that she won the CME Group LPGA Championship, she won the Race to the CME Globe for the best LPGA golfer of the year, and the $ 1.5 million deposited in her bank account ensured she topped the money list .

Most impressive of all is the fact that in all of these accolades on the line, especially when faced with the world’s number 1 at Korda, Jin Young Ko happened to hit her final 63 greens, usually one after the other. No, this is not a misprint. Jim Young Ko typically hit their last nine greens on Thursday and then typically hit each green for three consecutive rounds of 18 holes. She had a birdie putt on 63 straight holes in a row. She never had to go up and down from a sand trap for par. She never had to hit out of the trees and then hit her wedge close enough to secure a par. I repeat, with all sorts of accolades throughout the season, Jin Young Ko has typically hit her last 63 greens. I don’t think I can ever recall such an overt portrayal of quality ball hits, and I certainly don’t think anyone with a cashed tournament and Player of the Year award on the line has ever come anywhere near it.

Jin Young turned pro when she turned 18 and immediately set to play on her home track, the LPGA of Korea Tour. In Korea she was immediately successful and secured her first win within a year with a one-stroke win at the Nefs Masterpiece. She won three more times in Korea in 2015 and definitely caused a stir that same year when she finished second at the British Women’s Open in Turnberry and lost to world number one Inbee Park. Ko maintained her winning streak in Korea, winning three times in 2016 and three times in 2017. The LPGA Tour visited Korea in October 2017 with the hosting of the LPGA KEB-Hanna Bank Championship. Jin Young was on the hunt throughout the event and ended up beating SH Park with two punches. She was 22 years old, had won the Korean Tour 10 times, was runner-up in a major and now celebrated her first LPGA victory.

Jin Young felt it was time to devote himself to the LPGA Tour for the 2018 season. It was obviously a wise choice. Two months after her time among the world’s top women golfers, Ko beat Hye-jin Choi with three strokes and won the Australian Women’s Open. She was the LPGA’s Rookie of the Year. The following year she impressively clinched her third LPGA win and won a full shootout at the 2019 Bank of Hope Founders Cup in New Jersey. Ko shot 64-65 over the weekend for a one-shot win against a foursome that included Carlota Ciganda, Jessica Korda, Liu Yu and Nelly Korda.

The rest of 2019 was most impressive when Jin Young won her first two LPGA majors. She traveled to Palm Desert in April to win the ANA (Dinah Shore) and then ventured to France that summer to win the second major of her career in the Evian championship. Jin Young showed at the CP Canadian Women’s Open in August that she could continue her triumphant advance on the international stage and won her fourth tournament of the year. When the dust finally settled, she won the Vare Trophy for the low point average, the Annika Major Award for her two Grand Slam triumphs, was named LPGA Player of the Year and was number 1 on the money list in 2019 among the golfers in the world. The 2020 season shortened by the pandemic meant that Jin Young landed at the top of the money list with a win at the BMW Ladies Championship and second place at the US Women’s Open. Due to travel restrictions, she only played in four tournaments. Mighty impressive stuff.

Then came the 2021 season. Jin Young Ko made 18 of 19 cuts. She had two top 10s in the majors. She ended her year in a big way, winning five of her last nine events and prevailing in her last three out of four tournaments, including the CME with those 63 consecutive greens usually to put the icing on the cake. Note that Nelly Korda won four times, a major and Olympic gold, and it still wasn’t good enough compared to the season that produced knockout.

I’m really not sure how Jin Young Ko will top her last three years on the LPGA Tour, but it definitely looks like she is ready to be a dominant presence among female golfers. Having Nelly Korda at eye level certainly makes for an interesting rivalry that encompasses both talent and youth. The next year should be an extremely entertaining one on the LPGA Tour as the grand totals for their 34 tournaments run up to $ 85.7 million. In addition, the Women’s PGA visits the former US Open Congressional Country Club, the Women’s US Open travels to the iconic Pine Needles and the Women’s British Open breaks all possible barriers when it hits Muirfield, Scotland. Until recently, Muirfield did not allow female members on their course. It has hosted the British Open 16 times. There are interesting times ahead on the LPGA Tour.