Lydia Ko looking for more consistency on the heels of KPMG Women's PGA Championship

By T.J. Auclair
Published on
Lydia Ko looking for more consistency on the heels of KPMG Women's PGA Championship

OLYMPIA FIELDS, Illinois -- One year ago when Lydia Ko teed it up in the KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Sahalee in Washington state, she was the No. 1-ranked player in the world and had already collected two victories on the season.

At the tournament's end, Ko nearly picked off her third major, but was clipped by Canadian Brooke Henderson in a playoff between two of the game's brightest young stars.

Since then, Ko has won twice -- both coming in the week's following that KPMG PGA loss -- but has yet to tally a victory in 2017. She's also lost her No. 1 ranking, currently sitting at No. 3 behind So Yeon Ryu (No. 1) and Ariya Jutanugarn (No. 2).

Ko is also No. 19 on the LPGA money list entering this week.

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With everything that's changed, Ko doesn't feel that there's any less pressure having lost her No. 1 spot in the world ranking.

"I think it's pretty similar," explained the 20 year old. "You know, there might be a little less pressure because some of the other girls are playing in such great standards. This is a new week, and every day is a new day, so you just never know what's going to happen. But I don't feel like a lot of things have changed. It's only been a few weeks, and of all the changes that have happened. But with the rankings and with how well all the girls are playing, you never know exactly what's going to happen, and in one week things can change."

That's right. Things can change in a hurry. After Ariya Jutanugarn overtook the No. 1 ranking from Ko two weeks ago, for instance, So Yeon Ryu claimed the top spot on Sunday with a win in Arkansas.

For Ko, she's not going to press to try and reclaim the top spot. Instead, she wants to focus on turning in more solid performances consistently.

"I'm trying to stay positive, and to me I'm thinking more about how can I be more consistent and put myself in contention rather than thinking about, hey, I really want to be the No. 1 ranked player again," she said.

In 23 majors played, Ko has missed the cut just once. That came in the 2015 KPMG PGA at Westchester CC. Among those 23 majors, she's racked up an impressive eight top 10s. Clearly the majors are tournaments she's incredibly comfortable playing in. And, from what she's seen, she's a fan of Olympia Fields which could be trouble for the rest of the field.

"It's a great balance of holes, actually," she said. "It's not all short or all long. We have some longer holes where we might be coming in with hybrids or even a 5-wood in some cases, and then some shorter ones where you can take advantage and make those birdies. So it's a great balance, and I love golf courses like that where it doesn't really suit to one type of player. You know, it brings a lot of people in. I think that's why we're going to see a lot of great golf this week."

Ko, winner of the 2015 Evian Championship and the 2016 ANA Inspiration begins her quest for major win No. 3, at 1:50 p.m. CDT on Thursday alongside three-time KPMG PGA Champion Inbee Park and Lexi Thompson.