Jin Young Ko - The Best Golfer in The World
Ahead of the year's first major at the Chevron Championship, most eyes will be on Jin Young Ko to see whether her extraordinary form can be translated into another crowning moment for the 26-year-old who has produced a staggering sequence of results and statistics in recent seasons.
Ko had been a serial winner in her homeland and shot to prominence when she finished runner-up to Inbee Park at the Women's Open in 2015, but it wasn't until four years later when the South Korean became a modern superstar.
Winning the Dinah Shore (then entitled the ANA Inspiration) and the Evian Championship, two majors were quickly banked, as was a princely sum of $2,773,894 to top the LPGA Tour's money list. She also claimed the Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average (69.06) and was named the LPGA's Player of the Year.
Also, during that 2019 season, Ko went bogey-free for a tour-record 114 holes. More of those accomplishments would come later.
But then - as we all know - the world came to a sudden halt in the early months of 2020, shutting down Ko's progress. She remained home for the majority of the year, only returning in November to compete in four events, finishing runner-up at the US Women's Open and clinching the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship, again topping the money list.
Returning to something like normal in 2021, Ko's relative lack of success in the majors was significantly enhanced by five regular LPGA victories, including the Tour Championship for a second time. It was there when she hit an unfathomable 63 consecutive greens in regulation. That was also a record.
Nursing a wrist injury and always doing things her own way, Ko decided to take three months off at the beginning of this year, only returning to win the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore. By shooting 66 in the final round, Ko recorded her 15th consecutive round in the 60s, a new record. Last weekend, she finished fourth in California and made it 34 consecutive rounds under-par. That - you guessed it - was another record.
Combining her last four seasons, Ko has a scoring average of 68.94; she has hit 81.73% of fairways and 76.82% of greens in regulation. It reflects a consistency of performance that is unmatched in the current game.
The pandemic undoubtedly cost her victories and treasure, but a third major title for the world number one at the Chevron Championship would go a long way to make up for lost time.
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