WASHINGTON • New Zealand’s Lydia Ko, a two-time Major champion who has not won in 21/2 years, is happy just to be playing at the LPGA Drive On Championship.
The event, which started yesterday at Reynolds Lake Oconee in Greensboro, Georgia, was created to help alleviate the financial worries of players, who would usually be playing in Asia at this time of year, only for the Covid-19 pandemic to shut down those opportunities this year.
“We would have all loved to have been in Asia,” the 23-year-old said on Wednesday. “I’ve not been in the US in October before.
“Obviously, right now the best option for all of us was to stay within the US. I think it’s nice that we still get another playing opportunity.
“It’s going to be good golf – 2020 has been a pretty tough year for a lot of people all around the world, and I think for us to have another playing opportunity is something that we’re very grateful and thankful for.”
That is true for the world No. 39.
“The first little while where I wasn’t competing at the level when I was playing at my best, I compared myself a lot to then,” she said.
“I just got to try my 100 per cent when I’m out there, grind my butt out there and just do the best that I can, and the results happen.
“A lot of those things are out of my control, so hopefully, I’ll be able to keep playing consistently well and put myself more in contention and in those positions.”
Ko has been doing that lately. She shared second at the Marathon Classic in the LPGA’s second event after its near six-month pandemic shutdown and was sixth in last month’s ANA Inspiration Major.
“I’m doing pretty good,” she said. “I feel like after quarantine, the time I spent practising and recovering and training, it was good to see the results kind of show some of that time. Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep working hard to have more of those moments.”
The former world No. 1 likes the layout here but knows lifting a 16th career LPGA trophy will be a difficult task. “It’s definitely not easy to win,” she said. “I’ve just got to, in my off weeks, try my best, keep working on the areas I feel like need to be worked on and at a tournament just being focused and hopefully have a good week.”
She had pondered returning to New Zealand at one stage but decided to remain in her Florida home for now.
“I did think about maybe going home, but at that time, it was also a little bit of a risk for me to get on a long-haul flight, especially as I’m not (based) on the west coast. Makes it a little bit tougher to go home,” she said. “Hopefully, I’ll be back home very soon.”
LPGA DRIVE ON C’SHIP-REYNOLDS
Day 2: StarHub Ch204, tomorrow, 1am