Jin Young Ko’s made history at the HSBC Women’s World Championship as she collected her sixth LPGA victory in 10 starts.
Ko became the first player in tour history to record 15 consecutive rounds in the 60s, breaking a benchmark she shared with Annika Sorenstam and So Yeon Ryu. She also became the first player to record 30 consecutive rounds under par, eclipsing a mark set by Annika Sorenstam in 2004 and Lydia Ko in 2014-15.
“I just proud myself to record 60s 15 rounds, like straight,” said Jin Young Ko. “I’m so happy. I feel amazing right now.”
Ko’s back-nine 32 included five birdies over the last six holes, including one on 18, for a final-round 66. She came to the finishing hole at Sentosa Golf Club’s New Tanjong Course tied with former U.S. Women’s Open champion Jeongeun Lee6. But after Lee6’s chip shot from the back of the green flew across the front and led to a double-bogey, Ko converted her 10-foot birdie putt to win the event by two at 17 under.
“I was angry, myself,” said Ko, “but I thought, yeah, I have five or six more holes, so I can get a lot of birdies and par 5, it was next hole, so I had to get the birdies, No. 13. But 14, 15, I got – I was lucky, I think. And 18 was too.”
Jin Young Ko of South Korea plays her second shot on the 18th hole during the final round of the HSBC Women’s World Championship at Sentosa Golf Club on March 06, 2022, in Singapore. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Minjee Lee’s closing 63, which included 11 birdies, gave her a share of second with overnight leader In Gee Chun at 15 under. Lee6 and LPGA rookie Atthaya Thitikul, 19, finished three back in a share of fourth.
“I would say this week is pretty great,” said Thitikul, a four-time winner on the LET. “As I said before, it’s not my A-game all along. But I would say it’s good enough for me for like changing equipment, start the year earlier with like LPGA members, and then everyone it’s like eye on me, pressure is on me.”
The last time Ko, 26, posted a round in the 70s was a first-round 71 on Oct. 21, 2021, at the BMW Ladies Championship, an event she went on to win. The current No. 1 now has 13 career titles on the LPGA and 33 of her last 37 rounds have been in the 60s.
In the last 10 starts on tour, she’s a combined 154 under with a scoring average of 67.4.
When asked if she enjoyed feeling the pressure that comes with success, Ko said she didn’t enjoy the feeling of pressure, but she did appreciate the chance to “experience it and actually grow from it.”
This marks the second time Ko has won on the LPGA in her season debut. The first time came at the 2018 ISPS Women’s Australian Open, when she won in her debut as an LPGA member.
Ko said her next start on the LPGA will be the Chevron Championship in Rancho Mirage, California, the first major of the year. She won the event in 2019, collecting the first of two major titles that season.
That means Ko will skip next week’s event in Thailand as well as the JTBC Classic in Carlsbad, California. She and No. 2-ranked Nelly Korda have yet to compete in the same field this year.
Ko said she’ll head back to South Korea to continue work on her swing. Earlier this year, she did her winter training in the Palm Springs area.
Ko has been ranked No. 1 for 116 overall weeks and said she never dreamed she’d be this successful on the LPGA. When asked what advice she’d give her younger self, Ko said “it’s OK not to be a perfectionist.”
Though she’s currently rewriting the record tour’s books by coming awfully close.