It seems like an eternity has passed since Jin Young Ko won the 2019 edition of the Founders Cup, and considering the tournament has a new sponsor in Cognizant and a new venue in Mountain Ridge Country Club, the nearly two-year hiatus feels even longer. However, winning memories always stick with their champions and Ko is excited to defend this week at the event that saw her first victory on American soil.
“In 2019, this tournament was my first time winning in the U.S., so it was really big for me, and it is a great memory,” said the Rolex Rankings No. 2. “I played really well in Arizona, so I'm happy to be here. It's been two years, but yeah, I'm still happy.”
Being just a stone’s throw away from the Big Apple is something the 26-year-old took advantage of in between events and while she didn’t buy anything, there was still so much to take in.
“I went shopping. I went to New York City,” said Ko. “It was my first time visiting there. It was pretty and was a little bit rainy yesterday, but it was still good weather. I saw a lot of fancy stores. I went to a lot of good stores but a lot of things were out of stock so I couldn't get anything. I was just window shopping. It was fun. I want to visit again at Christmastime.”
Though her shopping trip was fruitless, Ko comes to West Caldwell with plenty of money in her pocket, fresh off a T2 finish at the ShopRite LPGA Classic. Combine that with a tie for sixth in Arkansas and a victory in Portland and the Korean’s game is in pristine form as the LPGA Tour nears the end of the 2021 season. Mountain Ridge’s major-championship-feel suggests that a tough test is on deck for the players this week, but armed with memories from her recent good play, Ko is more than ready for the challenge.
“This course is like a major course,” Ko said. “Everything is in perfect condition so it feels like a major and I'm defending, so it's going to be a long week. The fairways are a little wet and greens are as well, but it’s just like Portland. I have a lot of good memories from Portland. I’m hoping for a good week and hope that I have a good week this week.”