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World No. 1 Ko Jin-young honored to match LPGA legend's record

June 22, 2023 - 09:39 By Yonhap
Ko Jin-young tees off during a practice round for the KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey on Wednesday (Getty Images-Yonhap)

South Korean star Ko Jin-young matched an LPGA record to start this week, as she remained at No. 1 in the women's world rankings for the 158th week overall.

It tied Ko with Mexican legend Lorena Ochoa for the most weeks spent at the top in LPGA history, a feat that Ko said has made her feel humble. Ko has a chance to own the record by herself at the season's second major tournament, the KPMG Women's PGA Championship, at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey.

"It's an honor people (are) saying Lorena and me in the same sentence," Ko said at her pretournament press conference Wednesday (local time). "It makes me happy, but also it makes me humble. It's a great honor to stand with Lorena."

Three players ranked right below Ko -- Nelly Korda, Lydia Ko and Lilia Vu -- all have a chance to surpass Ko Jin-young this week. Korda is the only one of the trio who can rise to No. 1 with a win and without any help from others. Lydia Ko, for instance, must win and have Ko Jin-young finish alone in third or worse.

The formula is more complicated for Vu, who must win, have Ko Jin-young finish solo 12th or worse, have Korda end alone in fourth or worse and have Lydia Ko finish solo third or worse.

Ko Jin-young said she will keep her focus on the golf course this week, with the par-72, 6,831-yard track sure to test the best of the best in women's golf, both physically and mentally.

"The course is a really challenging golf course, but if I keep the ball on fairways or greens, I can make a lot of birdies," Ko said. "I like to play this type of golf course because the fairways are not wide, and the rough is not easy. I love to play difficult golf courses."

Ko said wrist problems that had plagued her last season -- she fell out of No. 1 and dropped to No. 5 in the rankings last fall -- are behind her.

"My wrist is getting better than last year, and I worked out every day for my wrist," she said, when asked about how thick and unforgiving the rough at Baltusrol may affect her play this week. "I'm not worried." (Yonhap)