Top-ranked Ko makes 2020 LPGA debut at new Florida event

World No 1 Ko Jin-young of South Korea will make her 2020 LPGA debut this week within the inaugural Pelican Girls’s Championship in Belleair, Florida.

Ko opted to not journey when the LPGA tour resumed after its coronavirus shutdown, preferring to remain house in South Korea and compete on the KLPGA tour.

She skipped her title defence on the pandemic-delayed ANA Inspiration in September, and returns to the LPGA tour for the primary time in virtually a yr.

“I used to be shocked,” Ko stated of her preliminary response to the tour shut-down in February. “It was an amazing choice, but it surely was a tricky time. I am completely satisfied to be again right here.

“I am doing nice,” added the 25-year-old, who stated she spent a variety of time on follow but in addition occupied herself with cooking lessons and meditation.

She completed 14th on the KLPGA cash record, incomes three top-10 finishes in six begins.

Her LPGA return comes 4 weeks earlier than the US Girls’s Open, which is adopted by the CME Group Tour championship.

Ko’s world rating will get her into the US Girls’s Open however she should earn sufficient factors on the LPGA tour to qualify for the Tour Championship, regardless of being the tour’s 2019 main cash winner and participant of the yr with 4 victories.

“That is my objective, as a result of I can not play proper now on the CME,” Ko stated. “So I wish to do my greatest two weeks, this week after which Dallas after which till the US Open.”

The event brings the LPGA again to the Tampa Bay space for the primary time because the 1989 St. Petersburg Girls’s Open.

Ko stated the course was in excellent situation, however stated she’d discovered the wind difficult throughout follow rounds.

The event was among the many many placed on maintain by the coronavirus pandemic, pushed again from its authentic date in Might.

Ko, a six-time LPGA tour winner, stated she was attempting to dial in some swing modifications aimed toward enhancing her brief sport, no straightforward job in a disrupted season.

“It is a lot totally different as final yr, as a result of final yr I had a variety of tournaments, perhaps over 20 occasions,” she stated. “So I want to seek out feeling on the course.

“It’s robust, but it surely’s getting higher, higher and higher. After which I wish to do extra consistency below 100 meters,” added Ko. “I play 17 years, over 17 years, so it is robust to vary the swing. It is easy to vary small quantities, however altering in an enormous quantity could be tough. So I am attempting to be higher below 100 meters, brief sport.”

Ko acknowledged to feeling some nerves as she ready for her LPGA return on an unfamiliar course.

“It’s robust,” Ko stated. “However it’s the identical situation to each participant. So it is robust, however I feel I’ll take pleasure in it.”

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