Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings No. 1 Jin Young Ko is in hot pursuit of history over the weekend at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, in more ways than one. After firing a 2-under 69 on Friday at Baltusrol Golf Club’s Lower Course, the 15-time LPGA Tour winner is in contention, vying for the third major title of her career and first since the 2019 Amundi Evian Championship. But she’s also working on breaking the record for most weeks spent at world No. 1, currently tied with Lorena Ochoa at 158. With Rolex Rankings No. 2 Nelly Korda and No. 4 Lilia Vu missing the cut, and No. 3 Lydia Ko on the bubble to play this weekend, it appears that Jin Young’s ranking is in the clear until the U.S. Women’s Open.
Ko’s second-round 69 saw her make four bogeys and six birdies, including three in a row on holes 5, 6 and 7, and considering how well she was able to bounce back after an opening 1-over 72, the 27-year-old was pleased with her Friday performance, even though she felt like she played similarly on Thursday.
“I felt the same. Nothing different as yesterday. Just I got more birdies today and just four bogeys. But it was okay because a major. I just focused one shot at a time on the course. But this golf course is not easy. We needed extra focus on the course,” said Ko, who hit 8 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens on day two. “Some holes were really tricky from the tee shot to angle, so I needed more conversation with Dave (Brooker, her caddie). If we are having great conversation, I think it will pay off. I will get more conversation with Dave tomorrow.”
However, as she looks ahead to the next 36 holes, Ko isn’t really focusing too much on the world No. 1 record. Instead, she’s more concerned with where she finishes over the weekend, hoping to better her T9 performance at The Chevron Championship, an undertaking that has the LPGA Tour veteran feeling a little bit more pressure than normal. But, ever the competitor, Ko feels more strongly about bettering her best result at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and will be locked in on that goal as she looks to capture the third major title of her six-year career.
“I have a little pressure, but I have pressure more than major. I just want to get better and better, and I want to get better than the first major of Chevron. I think it's T7 or T9, so I want to get better than 7,” said the two-time major champion. “Honestly, I checked all the research before starting this event, and best finish was top 11 for the KPMG. I just wanted to finish top 10. It's going to be good for me.”