Hate to say I told ya so, but having suggested a level of caution around Lydia Ko hype after she won the LPGA Championship at the end of April, Ko has settled back to her norm. While we would have all been hopeful that Ko could get back to her winning ways, or at least a level of consistent success and that a tournament win would spark Ko into a rich vein of form, the truth was and appears to be that a tournament win was an out-lier.
For now at least. I'm still super optimistic about Ko's trajectory and how she is trending, Ko is showing signs of what she is capable and we are merely on the journey of following Ko as she toils through the reality of professional sport, growing up in the process.
A week after her LPGA Championship win, Ko backed up with a solid tied-8th finish at the Texas Classic. Ko had two rounds under par (of two rounds played) and that pushed her out to seven-straight rounds under par, then if we factor in the first round of the U.S. Women's Open, went to eight-straight rounds under par.
Unfortunately for Ko, she then hit her remaining three rounds at the Women's Open over par and wound up finishing tied-49th.
Again, this is the norm for Ko and viewing these sorts of results for Ko as the norm offers greater context to the results. If you got all hyped about Ko winning the LPGA Championship, then you'd be disappointed by the subsequent dip but this is nothing more than Ko enjoying a nice peak, then settling back into the status-quo.
Tied-8th at the Texas Classic, was Ko's third top-10 finish of the year and of course the tournament win a week prior means that two of Ko's three top-10 finishes have come in the last three tournaments. Ko is also yet to have her scoring average dip below 70, or even 70.2 in the 11 tournaments she has played and as you can see below, her major statistics continue to trend in the wrong direction since the April Mixtape.
April: 69.96% (79th)
May: 69.18% (93rd)
Greens In Regulation
April: 68.46% (62nd)
May: 67.36% (69nd)
Putts per GIR
April: 1.76 (12th)
May: 1.78 (18th)
April: 28.88 (4th)
May: 28.88 (4th)
April: 70.65 (17th)
May: 70.88 (23rd)
Although it's not fun to report about Ko's struggles and continue to write about how this is now the status-quo for Ko, I continue to find this a fascinating journey. There are four tournaments in June, starting this weekend in New Jersey (ShopRite LPGA Classic) and the first major point of intrigue will be Ko's involvement in those tournaments. Ideally Ko plays all four and gives herself the best shot at a few top-10 finishes, but Ko does tend to miss a tournament here and there, so with a full schedule in June, she may opt out of a tournament; Ko has played 11 of 14 tournaments this year.
And of course we continue to be given a perfect example on how to deal with adversity. The golfing journey is fascinating and it's also fantastic for young kiwis to see how Ko maintains a great attitude to her golf, with a smile on her dial and always leading by example. As inspirational and amazing as Ko was when she was dominating the LPGA Tour, I'm also loving this version of Ko. From the intrigue and nuance of her golfing journey, to the inspiration she offers, it's still bloody easy to appreciate Lydia Ko.
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Peace and love 27.