Lydia Ko did Lydia Ko things on Saturday at The Ascendant LPGA benefiting Volunteers of America, bouncing back from a double bogey on the par-3 11th with four birdies in her last seven holes to post a 4-under 67. Ko currently sits one shot back of co-leaders Charley Hull and Xiyu Lin at -10 as she looks for the 18th title of her LPGA Tour career and second of the 2022 season. It’s the eighth time this year that she’s been within five of the lead entering the final round and thus far, Ko has only been able to convert once, winning the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio in late January. But the 25-year-old remains unfazed and is looking forward to the challenge that Old American Golf Club will pose on Sunday as she looks to hoist another trophy.
“I had a club that was probably a little too big and I was trying to be too cute with that. That was an error that shouldn't have happened but happened. I tried to salvage it but didn't do a great job of that, so came off with a double. I didn't get too upset at myself and tried to move on and hit good shots and give myself more looks for birdies,” said Ko. “It almost feels like it's a new event for me. The year that I played the weather was so bad the tournament was cut short. I don't think I have a lot of experience feed off from, but it feels like I'm playing well at a new event. Just trying to keep it positive and be confident out there.”
This is Ko’s fourth appearance in The Ascendant LPGA, and in her three previous starts her best finish is a tie for eighth that came in 2018, the only time she’s teed it up at Old American. Ahead of the week in The Colony, Texas, Ko led the Tour in strokes gained total (2.270), scoring average (69.3) and top-10 finish percentage (61%). Since June, Ko has the most top-10 finishes of any player on Tour, carding 8 top-10s – 7 of which are top fives – in her last 10 starts. She’s been knocking on the door quite hard since capturing her 17th title in January, and with one round left to play and Ko once again in the hunt, it seems high time that she finally pushes it open.
“It's a pretty packed leaderboard, and I think when you get into good rhythm of things, you can kind of make that streak of birdies and keep going. At the same time, it's not easy out there, so it really can go either way,” Ko said. “So I'm just going to enjoy it and have fun. It's always nice to be in contention, and I think that's what the ultimate goal is, to be in contention. And whatever happens at the end of the week, you've got really no control of the result after that.”