Lydia Ko will once again have the chance to win the Vare Trophy this month after storming her 22nd professional victory in Saudi Arabia in an amazing fashion. The Kiwi golfer won the Saudi Ladies Invitational with five strokes after leading the $1.4 million tournament by four shots heading into the final round. Lydia wasn’t troubled, recording a final-round seven-under 65 and finishing with a whopping 23-under.
While the 63-woman pitch for the tournament didn’t have most of the leading female golfers in the world, Lydia stamped her class on proceedings and took home a hefty payday. That was Lydia’s first standalone victory in the European Tour, adding to her last five Tour victories from co-sanctioned events.
The New Zealand golfer will be very confident as she pursues the prestigious Vare Trophy this week, following her victory in Saudi Ladies International on Monday (NZT). Lydia pocketed $130,000 for her efforts in the event, and she will be heading to the US for the last two LPGA Tour events this year. The 24-year-old golfer will head into the event in the box seat to take the trophy given to the player of the year with the lowest scoring average.
Lydia is ranking fourth with a 69.615 scoring average and has earned $1.3 million on this lucrative tour this year. However, the three golfers ahead of her don’t meet the minimum number of 70 rounds required to win. These golfers include Inbee Park (69.534), Jin Young Ko (69.186), and Nelly Korda (69.074). That leaves the young Kiwi golfer in a critical position, closely followed by the 2016 winner Gee Chun (69.794) from South Korea.
The winner of the Vare Trophy will be a point closer to getting in the LPGA Hall of Fame, with KO having accumulated 19 points so far. That is about eight points short of being eligible for the Hall of Fame.
Lydia’s quest to bag the Vare Trophy will start at the Pelican Women’s championship this week in Florida, coming ahead of the CME Group Tour tournaments also staged in Florida Next week. Fans betting on golf can check out oddshark for odds on the event, which has Lydia among the bookies’ favorites.
The World’s No 7 originally planned to participate in another competition in Saudi Arabia, but she later changed her plans. That’s because missing the Pelican Championship would have eliminated her from winning the trophy she’s yet to win in her impressive career.
The Saudi Ladies International was the first for Lydia to win, continuing with her impressive revival after teaming up with Coach Sean Foley in July this year. That was the second win for Lydia this year, after closing her 1084-day winning drought when she won the PGA LOTTE Championship in April in Honolulu.
The Kiwi female golfer has recorded nine top-ten finishes in the LPGA Tour this year, including an outright second. Lydia also shared the second position twice, making her among the top players participating in the upcoming Pelican Championship.
When asked how her playing style has changed since she first burst into the international golfing scene, Lydia Ko said she feels a lot different and physically older. Lydia had an impressive start during her career, where she spent around 85 weeks ranking first worldwide between 2015 February and 2017 June.
Lydia revealed she cannot rock up 10 minutes ahead of her tea time and feels like she’s loose now. That’s all thanks to her many experiences playing on the tour, which has helped her learn so much through the bad and the good. That has made her the golfer she is today, making her more experienced. However, she’s yet to know whether the experience has made her smarter.
The New Zealand golfer was at her best during the last two rounds of the Royal Greens Golf, firing a searing nine-under 63 in the third round. That equaled the course record as she roared to the last day with a four-shot lead ahead of Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul.
Lydia backed it up with a flawless 65 last Monday without giving Thitikul a sniff. Thitikul tried her best in the Saudi Ladies Invitational, but Lydia was brilliant in the competition. Lydia was great with her putting in the tournament, and her approach shots were incredible. As such, the runner-up believes she has quite a lot to learn from her to help her get the better of Lydia in future events.
All said and done, Lydia had an eagle and 26 birdies to her name, with four ninths in the final round. That’s quite impressive for Lydia as it helps to have a four-shot cushion going into the final round, as you can shoot the same score and have those shots in the last three days.