Jin Young Ko claimed a two stroke victory in the Evian Championship at Evian Resort Golf Club to take her second major of 2019, following the ANA Inspiration. The last time a player won multiple majors in one season was 2015, when Inbee Park won the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and the AIG Women’s British Open.
Ko is projected to return to the top of the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings following her third win of the season.
The 24-year-old from Seoul said: “It’s a really great honour to get my second major win of the year. Really I can’t believe it.”
On returning to the World No.1 spot, she said: “Hopefully this time, I’ll get better and play better. I will always find motivation for my golf on the course.”
Ko entered the final round four strokes behind third-round leader Hyo Joo Kim. Ko steadily went out in a 33 and carded three birdies on the back nine, while Kim slipped back after a bogey on No. 12 and an unfortunate triple bogey on the par-3 14th. Ko came out victorious after shooting a 4-under 67 in the rain and a trio of players finished in a tie for second at -13: Kim, Jennifer Kupcho and Shanshan Feng.
“So I played really – not perfect, but a little bit perfect,” said the two-time major winner, laughing at herself. “And then I tried to be patient on the course. The weather was bad, raining, and then sometimes thunder, but I thought, ‘This is same condition as for the other players, so I will try make a birdie.’ Yeah, I had really great week.”
JIN YOUNG KO’S CADDIE PAYS TRIBUTE TO HER CONSISTENCY
Moments after Jin Young Ko clinched her fifth career victory on the LPGA Tour at The Evian Championship on Sunday – making France the fourth different country in which she has emerged triumphant – her caddie Dave Brooker applauded her “phenomenal” consistency and distance control.
“She can win anywhere,” Brooker said while watching Ko pose for the champion’s photographs alongside her trophy. “The things that impress most about her are her consistency and her ball-striking, as she showed today. She literally didn’t miss a shot in 18 holes. Her management of distance control because she just does not curve the ball: it’s phenomenal. I’ve never seen anything like it. Most great players I’ve worked for tend to work the ball one way or the other. She just hits everything dead straight and it seems to pay dividends because we have a lot of looks at birdie. The one shot she missed today was on 12, she just pulled a little bit, didn’t strike it well enough and pulled it left of the green. It was the only green we missed today. She chipped up to six feet and just lipped out.”
Brooker is one of the most experienced caddies on the LPGA Tour and has now tasted five major championship victories during his career (two as caddie for Jin Young, two with Lorena Ochoa and one with Grace Park), but he was reluctant to make comparisons about who ranked as the best ball-striker.
“It’s very difficult to say because they all have different styles,” said Brooker. “Grace was very dynamic, along the same lines as Lorena. Lorena was just making eagles and making birdies at will and hitting shots that other people couldn’t. Whereas Jin Young is more in the Annika (Sorenstam) mould with consistency and accuracy. It’s very difficult to compare one to the other but she’s definitely up there with the greats.”
CRAZY WEEK FOR ROOKIE JENNIFER KUPCHO
American Kupcho lit up the golf world earlier this year when she won the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur and this week came just two strokes shy of adding a major professional victory to that amateur one. While standing over her putt on 18, Kupcho admitted to being more nervous than she was over her winning putt at Augusta. “I’d definitely say over that putt on 18 I was kind of freaking out. I had to take a couple deep breaths as I was lining it up, so…” she said with a laugh.
This was just her eighth start as a professional and the exciting young talent went for the final green in two and birdied the 18th to put pressure on Ko.
“As soon as I walked up to it there wasn’t a question in my mind that I was going to go for it,” said Kupcho of that decision to aim for the green in two, a new dilemma for the players after that hole was changed from a par 4 to a par 5 this year.
“It’s crazy. I definitely played really well this week, and it’s exciting to see that I can compete where my game is right now,” said Kupcho. “I’m excited for the rest of the season.”
Julie McCarthy [Forest Little] who made her debut at The Evian.