Lydia Ko Prepared to Answer Congressional's Major Test at KPMG Women's PGA Championship
Lydia Ko knows Congressional Country Club is most certainly a major test, but if there’s anyone on the LPGA Tour that is up for the challenge this week, it’s Ko.
The former No.1-ranked golfer in the world has not finished outside the top 25 in her last 14 events – including four top-5 finishes in her last five tournaments.
She’s about to tee off for her fourth event in a row, though – something she doesn’t normally do – and she’s hoping to be firing on all cylinders both mentally and physically at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
“I had a very solid stretch of events. I don't play many four weeks in a row, so hopefully I'm going to cap off this stretch well,” said Ko. “It's such a beautiful golf course. We have to hopefully have our A-game, and even if you don't have that, try and manage your way around the golf course, but I'm excited. This has been one of the best majors and championships that we get to play.
“We're excited that the world's best are at one of the world's best golf courses.”
Ko, who has never won the KPMG Women’s PGA but has a third-place and second-place finish in her career, said Congressional is the kind of golf course where the competitors at this week’s championship won’t be able to take their foot off the gas.
“I was saying yesterday during the Pro-Am I don’t think there’s a single hole where you are like, ‘OK, this one I can breathe, and this is an easy par or going to be a definite birdie opportunity,’” she said.
Ko’s game has been firing on all cylinders to the midway point of the 2022 campaign, especially around the green. Thanks to the KPMG Performance Insights, we know Ko is leading the LPGA Tour in Strokes Gained: Putting. She’s first in Putting Average and first in Sand Saves, too.
Ko said she went through a period of time where her ball-striking was “not as great” so she ended up relying on her putter a lot more. Inevitably, her putting improved. It became a club, she said, she could rely on.
She’s hoping that at the end of the four-week stretch her putter, and all aspects of her game, will still be firing. Ko admitted that the final tournament at the end of four weeks is a big test both physically and mentally.
“Especially when you are in contention, it feels like the week is longer than it is, even though it’s the same 72-hole or 54-hole event. I think a major, even though it’s the same (length), I think there’s just that little extra bit of pressure, little bit of mental focus that can wear out on you a little bit,” she said. “I feel like you don't feel the fatigue when you are out there playing because all your focus is on that shot in front of you.
“I feel much better than I thought I would be at the end of this four-week stretch.”
It may have been a long run for Ko over the last month, but now she’s hoping to take the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship across the finish line.
“I’m excited,” said Ko. “I think the person that wins this week is definitely have played four solid rounds of golf, and I think this course is going to be a true test to somebody who really has their game on in all areas.”