Lydia Ko secured her 20th career LPGA title on Sunday at the season-opening Tournament of Champions in Orlando’s Lake Nona.
The 26-year-old golf sensation, ranked 12th globally, demonstrated her prowess by firing a two-under par 70 in the final round, finishing the tournament at 14-under 274.
Ko, a two-time major champion and a resident of Lake Nona, had not claimed an LPGA crown since the 2022 Tour Championship. However, her recent victories in the Saudi Ladies International and the mixed team event with Australian partner Jason Day signaled her return to the winner’s circle.
The Seoul-born Kiwi maintained a two-stroke lead heading into the final round and solidified her position with key birdies at the par-3 sixth and par-5 ninth holes. Despite facing challenges in the back nine, Ko showcased her resilience by birdying the 15th hole, securing victory over US teen Alexa Pano by a margin of two strokes.
Reflecting on her triumph, Ko expressed her joy at winning on her home course, saying, “To see so many members come out and clap and cheer me on was the best part of this week.” The victory not only brought her a $225,000 top prize but also brought her within one LPGA title of entering the prestigious tour Hall of Fame.
With a humble mindset, Ko acknowledged the significance of the achievement, stating, “One is really close. I’m right in front of the door.” She emphasized her commitment to playing solid golf and maintaining composure despite the Hall of Fame milestone being within reach.
Ko’s journey has seen its share of ups and downs, including a winless year on the LPGA Tour in 2023.
Reflecting on that period, she noted, “It kind of went sideways very quick. I’ll not get too cocky.” Looking ahead, Ko is eager to carry the momentum from this victory to the upcoming Drive On Championship in Bradenton.
As the golf world applauds Lydia Ko’s triumphant return to the winner’s circle, her fans eagerly await her next chapter on the course, wondering if she will soon add another title to her illustrious career.