Teenager Lydia Ko seeks 3rd Canadian Women's Open title
August 22, 2014, 12:04 am TWN
LONDON, Ontario -- New Zealand's Lydia Ko, a 17-year-old seeking her third consecutive LPGA Canadian Women's Open title, tees off Thursday trying to join Meg Mallon and Pat Bradley as three-time winners.
The South Korean-born prodigy was an amateur when she won in 2012 at age 15 and last year when she took the title in Edmonton.
But world number three Ko has already won twice this year on the LPGA Tour in her first professional season, taking the Swinging Skirts Classic and Marathon Classic.
“The first year it kind of came on as a surprise and the next year it was kind of the same situation,” Ko said.
“I'm excited for this week, but I'm not going to go out there and go, 'OK, I really need to win this,' because I just want to play the best I can, and it's kind of not all up to me.”
Ko comes off a third-place finish at last week's LPGA Championship, her second-best major finish.
“I've been playing pretty consistently well. I have been pretty pleased with how everything is going,” Ko said. “Last year I really wanted to win, but it wasn't because I was trying to defend my title, it was just 'I'd love to win here.'
“Obviously it would be great to do a three-peat, but you just never know because the world's best are all here playing in this field.”
That includes world number two Park In-Bee, the South Korean star who captured her fifth major title at last week's LPGA Championship and seeks her third title of the season this week. The first also came in a Canadian event, the Manulife LPGA Classic.
“I'm just really happy. My game is really coming around,” Park said. “I feel like I'm getting my confidence back. I feel like I'm rolling the putts a little bit better and obviously last week's win definitely helps me play this week.”
A key to her improvement has been better putting, Park said.
“I'm holing a little bit more putts and especially more important putts, especially last week,” she said. “I think it's a really good sign.”
Top-ranked American Stacy Lewis, Australia's Karrie Webb, Sweden's Anna Nordqvist and American Jessica Korda have all won multiple titles this season.
The field features 18 of the world top 20, although a notable absentee is U.S. Women's Open champion Michelle Wie, sidelined by a finger injury. She won the Canadian Women's Open title in 2010.