Choi and Ko Big Winners as LPGA Opens 2015 Campaign
Two significant events at the inaugural Coates Golf Championship, the LPGA’s season opener for 2015. First, Na Yeon Choi won a golf tournament. She closed with a 68 on Saturday at the Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club to finish four days of work at 16-under par 272. Lydia Ko, Jessica Korda, and Ha Na Jang finished one shot behind her.
It was the eighth career win for the 27-year old Choi, whose resume includes the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open title. But she hadn’t won since the season-ending CME Group Titleholders that same year and some of her countrymen in the Republic of Korea were wondering what was wrong.
“I know they have a lot of expectations from me because they think I’m a good player, so they always want me being a champion and win a tournament,” Choi said. “But this is golf and there’s like more than 30 tournaments a year. And still last year I missed the cut twice, but that was the most I have in like the last seven years and they think I got like a slump.”
Choi has the goal of representing her country in the 2016 Olympic Games. So Saturday’s win was, in a sense, reassuring.
“[Making the Olympics] is my goal, “she says. So I’m really looking forward to this season because I start to hit it so well. I can see my game improve so much from the last year. I didn’t play well last year, but still I’m learning so many things from all the some mistakes. So I try to keep learning. And even I have tournament next week so I keep playing well and get a lot of confidence.”
Meanwhile, Ko’s second-place finish elevated her to the top of the world rankings, which were due to be officially updated late Sunday night or early Monday. At 17 years, 9 month, and 9 days, she is the youngest player, male or female ever to achieve a number-one ranking, supplanting one Eldrick T. Woods, who was 21 the first time he reached the top spot in 1997.
For her part, Ko is focused on playing good golf as opposed to mathematical calculations.
“I’m just going to just focus on my golf, not think about the rankings. The rankings, like I said, it always comes after the results. I’m just going to focus the next week, concentrate on a whole new week and I think that’s all I can really do.”