Ko defends LPGA Canadian crown

OTTAWA, Canada (AFP) — Top-ranked Ko Jin-young finally gets the chance to defend her 2019 crown at the LPGA Canadian Women’s Open, which returns Thursday after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 27-year-old South Korean star, who won her 13th LPGA title in March at Singapore, arrived at Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club after missing the cut at the British Women’s Open three weeks ago.

“I was sad, but after I went back to Korea, so I needed to more time for break,” Ko said.

“I practiced a lot before the Europe swing so I thought I don’t have energy for playing golf.”

“My game wasn’t good. That’s why I missed the cut. So I practiced a little bit after Europe, and hopefully this week better.”

Ko doesn’t ponder her place atop the rankings so much, saying she doesn’t need any extra pressure.

“If I’m playing really well I can keep the world ranking No. 1,” she said.

“But I don’t want to think too much and I don’t want to get too much pressure on me.”

Australian Minjee Lee and American Nelly Korda are second and third in the rankings with New Zealand’s Lydia Ko fourth ahead of Canadian Brooke Henderson, who captured her second major title at last month’s Evian Championship in France.

“I’m super excited. It’s really close to home this year,” Henderson said of her home-nation event, which is being contested less than an hour’s drive from her hometown.

“It’s so much fun to have that much support and love from Canadian fans and to be able to play in front of them on home soil is pretty cool.”

Korda won last week’s Ladies European Tour team event in Spain.

“I’m super excited,” Korda said.

“It feels nice to get a win under my belt.”

American Danielle Kang makes her first start since stepping away from the tour in June to address a tumor she said was diagnosed on her spine.

The event begins an eight-week stretch of North American tournaments heading toward the end of the season in November.

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