Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Lydia Ko leads on the LPGA Tour.
The 18-year-old Kiwi shot 7-under 65 at Sky 72 Golf Club in South Korea on Friday to take a one-shot edge heading into the weekend at the LPGA KEG Hana Bank Championship. Ko, who began the day seven shots behind Day 1 leader Sung Hyng Park, is at 10-under 134.
Ko said Friday that she had to take a one-shot-at-a-time approach to making up what seemed like a daunting deficit.
“When a player shoots 10 under, 7 under, 8 under, whatever, they had a great day and all you can do is play good golf yourself and just think about it, one shot at a time and see the closer you are to the leader — or if you’re leading, the earlier, the better,” said Ko.
Lexi Thompson is in second place after making birdies on three of the final four holes. Park and Yoon-Ji Cho are two shots behind Ko.
Thompson, who came up short in a showdown with Ko at the LPGA’s final major of the year, the Evian Championship, knows she will have to catch and pass her friend, not wait for her to come back to the field.
“You know you have to top [top-ranked players] with birdies and make more birdies when they make pars,” Thompson said. “They are not going to make mistakes so you just have to keep on making birdies on them.”
Even though she is now the hunted, not the hunter, Ko, searching for a fifth LPGA win this year, is going to maintain the same approach on Saturday as the one she employed so successfully on Friday.
“I think I put myself in good position,” Ko said. “But the weekend is where they say people try to go up the leaderboard. I’m just going to focus on one shot at a time tomorrow and just focus on my game, because I know there’s going to be a lot of great golf from a lot of great players.”