Lydia Ko is over 8,000 miles across the Atlantic with a chance for her second win in as many weeks, five days after winning the Aramco Saudi Ladies International on the Ladies European Tour.
However, the former world No. 1 shows no indications of jet lag. She’s T-10 after 36 holes in the Pelican Women’s Championship, three shots off the lead at 7 under.
The 24-year-old New Zealander, who is currently third on the Race to the CME Globe list, has already secured a spot in next week’s CME Tour Championship. However, Ko learned she was still in the running for one of the LPGA’s most coveted prizes after finishing T-3 at the BMW Ladies Championship in mid-October, leading her to enter the Pelican’s field.
“I was thinking about something called the Vare Trophy,” Ko remarked after her round on Friday. “To be honest, I had no idea what position I was in.” ‘Oh, I’m fourth?’ I thought as I saw the TV at BMW. I had no idea there was such a thing as a minimum round count. I figured I’d played enough to be counted, and I figured the other three would as well. I had no idea what I was up against.
“But, knowing myself, I’d usually play the first event in Saudi and not the second, so it worked out that I’d be taking this week off anyhow.” So just living in Florida and finishing off with the two Florida swings, perhaps it will all be worth it in the end.”
Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open full-field scores
Ko was ranked fourth in the Vare Trophy scoring average heading into the Pelican Championship, trailing only Nelly Korda, Jin Young Ko, and Inbee Park, the world’s top three players. Those three, however, will not be eligible for the award since they will not complete the minimum 70 rounds. After Friday, Ko has played 67 holes, but with fifth-place In Gee Chun already at 70, Ko knows she’ll need to play more than the last six rounds to win.
“Playing these last two events offers me a chance at it, but it doesn’t guarantee anything,” she explained. “At the end of the day, to be deserving of that honor, I still have to play terrific golf.” Yeah, being awarded that at the end of Sunday next week would be fantastic, especially because it’s the last awards. It covers the entire year rather than a single event. It would be really significant. “I’m just going to play my heart out to see what happens.”
The 16-time LPGA winner and two-time Olympic medalist has won numerous awards throughout her career, including Rookie of the Year (2014) and Rolex Player of the Year (2015), both in years when she also won the CME Globe Championship. Nonetheless, she’d like to add the Vare Trophy to her collection, albeit it’s not the only one on her wish list of professional accomplishments.
“My main aim is probably the Career Grand Slam,” she remarked. “I guess I’ll be there anyway if I do the Career Grand Slam.” [The Vare Trophy] sort of works out on its own. Yeah, I think not every player gets to win on tour, and not every player gets to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, so to be able to put my name next to some of the greats would be incredible.”
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