Rickie Fowler hit a 458-yard drive at Gullane Golf Club two weeks ago when the men’s Scottish Open took on the firm and fast conditions in Scotland that afford unfathomable distances.
He wasn’t the only one setting outrageous high water marks across the pond.
Padraig Harrington hit a drive 457 yards in a practice round at Carnoustie before The Open Championship.
Now, it’s the ladies’ turn.
Monday, Lydia Ko mashed a 347-yard drive during a practice round at Gullane Golf Club. Keep in mind that Ko ranks 136th on Tour in driving distance. Just imagine if Ariya Jutanugarn pulled out a driver this week.
“I don’t even know what my career best drive is, but I know I’ve never hit it more than 347 (yards) unless I’ve hit like three sprinklers which is never happening,” said Ko with her patented wide smile. “It’s nice that you’ve only got like a 50-yard, chip-in and you can almost putt it from there with how the ball is rolling on the fairways.”
Welcome to links golf or as Ko so appropriately describes, home of the 15th club.
“I love playing links golf, it brings out the 15th club where you have to be a bit more creative and you have to hit shots that normally you wouldn’t be doing.”
Creativity is an appropriate word this week. Ko pointed out the first hole and the 18th during her Tuesday press conference as pivotal. The first hole plays straight into the wind and 18 forces a decision off the tee that brings the fairway pot bunkers into play.
The good news for Ko is that she’s no stranger to links golf. This is her third Ladies Scottish Open appearance and she said the course reminds her very much of playing by the water at her home in New Zealand.
Ko has one win this season and five top 10s. After a somewhat slow start coupled with the scrutiny she faced in the off-season for the litany of changes to her team, Ko seems to be finding her comfort zone.
"I hope I've settled down with the changes and I have a solid team around me, which is a great place to be," said Ko. "Consistency is the biggest thing in golf. We've been trying to work on simplifying things and being more consistent."
Ko worked with her coach, Ted Oh, for a few days before flying to Scotland and has enjoyed consistent success with her caddie, Johnny Scott.
She'd consider a win this week as one of the shining moments of her young career, which has already produced 15 trophies.
“It would be so cool to win in Scotland because it really is the Home of Golf, where it all started,” said Ko. “You kind of feel like you’re being part of history.”