KO CLOSING IN ON SEASON-ENDING TITLES
Thursday night of the CME Group Tour Championship, Jin Young Ko will likely visit the stage several times at the 2019 Rolex LPGA Awards. She has a substantial lead in the Rolex Player of the Year standings, sitting 116 points ahead of her nearest competitor and with a chance to clinch this title this week in Korea. She also leads the Tour in scoring average at 68.901, on pace to win the Vare Trophy with one of the lowest averages in LPGA history.
With four 2019 victories and the Rolex ANNIKA Major Award already in her possession, not to mention a major victory on the KLPGA Tour two weeks ago, Rolex Rankings No. 1 Ko comes to the BMW Ladies Championship in on an incredible high.
“I'm having a great season, and I'm especially pleased to be here at this BMW event as a BMW ambassador. I've had two wins at a BMW event when it was played before the KLPGA, so I have many good memories with BMW,” said Ko, who won the 2016 and 2017 BMW Ladies Championships on the KLPGA Tour, a separate tournament to this new LPGA Tour event. “It's always great to return to events in South Korea. We see a lot of fans. I'm going to try enjoy myself and also focus and also garner a win if I can.”
Outside the ropes, Ko recently started a YouTube channel, Go Jin Young Ko. From a visit to Niagara Falls during the CP Women’s Open to capturing her caddie David Brooker’s first experience eating live octopus while at the Hite Jinro Championship to attending a Seoul FC soccer match, Ko is excited to give her fans a glimpse into her personal life.
“I always really felt that there was more to show of myself on Tour, and for my fans, because I'm on Tour in the US, many of them are worried about how I'm doing and they are also curious about how I'm doing on Tour in the States,” said Ko. “That's why I kind of started my channel, and also, when I'm on Tour, I love sightseeing and I wanted to share that with my fans and how I'm living my life abroad. I've been planning my segments, short, 10-minute segments on the channel.”
ROLEX PLAYER OF THE YEAR UPDATE
In the Rolex Player of the Year standings, Rolex Rankings No. 1 Jin Young Ko holds a commanding 116-point advantage over the rest of the field with 239 points. With four events remaining and 30 points awarded per win, there are a maximum 120 points available. With 123 points, No. 2 Jeongeun Lee6 is the only player left with a possibility to catch Ko for the Player of the Year title.
Ko can clinch the title by finishing sixth or better at this week’s BMW Ladies Championship. She can also clinch if Lee6 does not win the tournament. To remain alive, Lee6 must win and have Ko finish seventh or worse.
CHOI CONTEMPLATING JUMP TO LPGA TOUR
In 2017, Jin Young Ko won the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship as a member of the KLPGA Tour and earned LPGA Membership for 2018. Move to 2019 and there is another KLPGA star looking to make the same leap with a big win this week.
Hye-Jin Choi burst on to the golf scene when she finished second at the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open as a 17-year-old amateur. She won twice on the KLPGA as an amateur and has added six titles since she turned professional in mid-2017, including four in 2019 alone. She passed on the opportunity to play in this week’s LPGA Q-Series, opting to compete in her home country instead of vying for a full 2020 LPGA Tour card. But she also knows full well what a win this week could mean – LPGA Tour Membership.
“I think I've always wanted to join the LPGA. It's a matter of timing,” said Choi, who is from Busan, this week’s host city. “I think that if I do win, I will definitely reconsider, and also given that I've given up the qualifying tournament to be in this event, I'll definitely consider if I win.”