Golf

The three words behind Lydia Ko's drought-ending win

Hawaii triumph helps former world No. 1 regain belief ahead of this week's star-studded HSBC Women's World Championship in Sentosa

A three-word mantra - Trust your training - helped former world No. 1 golfer Lydia Ko end her title drought at the Lotte Championship earlier this month.

No doubt those words will be playing on the New Zealander's mind over and over again at this week's HSBC Women's World Championship at the Sentosa Golf Club as she bids to claim a belated present for her 24th birthday last Saturday.

Ahead of her final round at the Lotte Championship in Hawaii a fortnight ago, her swing coach Sean Foley sent her a text message which read "Trust and conviction". Ko wrote that on her pin sheet, reported golf.com.

"Trust your training," she told herself as she extended her one-shot lead over Nelly Korda to seven, and posted 28-under 260 - a tournament record - to clinch her first title since 2018.

"Winning in Hawaii definitely built that confidence for me to say that, hey, you know, I can be back in the winner's circle. It's great to be in that kind of a position again," said Ko, who woke up at 6am yesterday to train, ahead of tomorrow's tee off in Sentosa.

The HSBC Women's World Championship is the first event on any international golf tour to take place in Asia since the Asian Tour's Malaysian Open in March last year.

The Toto Japan Classic in November 2019 was the last LPGA event on Asian soil.

This week's return after an almost 18-month absence will be blessed with a star-studded 69-player field containing six of the world's top 10, headed by top-ranked Ko Jin-young.

With the Olympics less than three months away, the New Tanjong Course will also host all three Rio 2016 medallists - Park Inbee of South Korea (gold), Ko (silver) and China's Feng Shanshan (bronze).

Park and Ko said yesterday they were not worried about playing at the coronavirus-delayed Tokyo Games despite a surge in infections in Japan.

A new state of emergency in Tokyo and some other regions was announced last week, although organisers insist the Olympics will go ahead.

"I want to go to the Olympics again," world No. 2 Park told a virtual press conference.

"Obviously, there are lots of people who are still very worried but... I just think it's great the Olympics is happening. We've been waiting for it for four years, and it has been five years now."

Ko added she was confident organisers would put in place stringent safety measures.

"I believe the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and everybody involved alongside Japan are going to make the right decisions in the lead up to the Games," she said.

"The 2016 Rio Olympics was one of the best memories I've had - on and off the golf course.

"Being part of the history where golf had not been played in the Olympics for over a hundred years was great, and I would love to be there again."

Rio de Janeiro marked the return of the sport to the Games after a 112-year absence. - AFP

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