EVIAN LES-BAINS, France – Lydia Ko is right back in the hunt at the Evian Championship, highly motivated to improve upon her major championship record.
Yes, at 16, the New Zealand amateur has already won four professional titles, including her successful title defense at the CN Canadian Women’s Open three weeks ago. Yes, she is already the youngest player to win an LPGA title, 15 when she won in Canada last year, but she’s eager to show her game already measures up to major championship tests, too.
With a 3-under-par 68 Friday, Ko is in the hunt to win back-to-back LPGA titles and become the youngest winner of a major. Morgan Pressel holds that distinction now, winning the Kraft Nabisco in 2007 when she was 18 years and 313 days old. Ko is more than two years younger.
“I haven’t played that great in the majors this year,” Ko said. “So, I really want to be there.”
This is Ko's seventh major championship. She has made the cut in all of them with her best finish a T-17 at the Wegmans LPGA Championship this year and a T-17 at the Ricoh Women's British Open last year.
After winning again in Canada, Ko stayed there for two weeks practicing before heading to France. She couldn't wait to get back in the heat of competition.
“I’ve been in tournament mode for two weeks,” Ko said. “I was kind of afraid I would lose that feel.”
Ko didn't take long to get going again even on a difficult test. She birdied her fourth hole Friday and didn’t leave red numbers the rest of her round. She was among just 11 players to break par in the morning wave. Ko played alongside fellow teen phenoms Charley Hull of England and Xi Yu Lin of China, both 17-year-olds. Hull shot 74, Lin 77.