What a beautiful time to be alive, delivering the Lydia Ko mixtape after our kiwi cuzzie enjoyed her best month of 2018 and probably her best month during this multi-year tough period. As Ko only played one tournament in September, I didn't roll out a September Mixtape and will instead incorporate her 10T result at the Evian Championship mid-way through September into this August Mixtape.
An August in which Ko had two top-10 finishes and a 11T, coinciding with the LPGA's excursion to Asia. I don't think it's a coincidence that Ko played her best golf in Asia as she started with the tied for 11th result at the Hana Bank Championship in Korea, followed by 2T at the Buick LPGA Shangai (which her homie Danielle Kang won) and then 6T at the Swinging Skirts Championship in Taiwan.
This is the third time this year where Ko has had back to back top-10 results, but the first time in which Ko has had three-straight tournaments with strong results. If we go back to August, Ko had three decent results (16T, 8T and 10T) which means that in this nice path of form going back to the start of August, Ko has only improved.
A nice patch which is most evident in her scoring averages during October as Ko's scoring average dipped below 70.10 for each of her last four tournaments. This wasn't just the first time Ko had put up multiple tournament scoring averages below 70.10, the Evian Championship in September was the first time this year that Ko's tournament scoring average was below 70.10.
Ko averaged 70.079 at the Evian Championship, followed by 70.075 (Korea), 70.036 (Shanghai) and 70.045 (Taiwan). This could be a low key monumental moment in Ko's career as she raises her baseline level of performance after enduring this rough patch that everyone (sporting or in life) goes through. Ko never wavered in her positivity, kept a smile on her dial and kept working hard at her golf throughout that rough patch and we may be seeing Ko emerge out of that funk.
That isn't to say that Ko is back to dominant, but more a case of Ko churning out greater consistency and hovering around the top-10 mark. Winning tournaments is cool and Aotearoa's mainstream media only really view Ko in the context of winning tournaments or not, however Ko has had seven top-20 finishes in her last seven tournaments. Coming where Ko has come from, that's lovely and it's all about sustaining those top-20 results from now on.
As always, here are how Ko's major statistics have changed through September and October...
August: 68.47% (109th)
October: 68.50% (114th)
Greens In Regulation
August: 70.99% (47th)
October: 71.47% (30th)
Putts Per GIR
August: 1.76 (16th)
October: 1.76 (14th)
August: 28.89 (5th)
October: 28.97 (7th)
August: 70.14 (11th)
October: 70.05 (7th)
The good news is that the LPGA Tour stays in Asia to start November with the Japan Classic starting later this week, followed by Blue Bay LPGA in China. The LPGA Tour then boosts it back to Florida, USA for the CME Group Tour Championship and with the form that Ko is in, we can hope for three top-10 finishes from those three tournaments. Especially those first two tournaments in Asia as Ko has already played her best golf of the year during this Asia leg of the tour and with a splash of confidence, it's hard to see that slowing down.
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Peace and love 27.