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    Lydia Ko’s CME win included a weird misstep. What occurred subsequent was one thing

    Lydia Ko on Sunday after her second shot on the 14th gap at Tiburon Golf Membership.

    Getty Photographs

    Lydia Ko, holding her membership out to the left in an effort to will her ball that manner, didn’t prefer it. Over the course of some minutes, neither did two observers. 

    “Wow, I used to be not anticipating that,” stated NBC analyst Karen Stupples, herself a longtime participant.   

    “There’s no purpose to be over there,” stated Morgan Pressel, additionally a commentator and veteran.

    “To reply that manner is so shocking,” Pressel added later. 

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    “It’s one factor for Leona to hit it into the water — it was a poor shot — however I’m simply utterly floored at Lydia following her in there,” Stupples added later. 

    Ko was up one Sunday through the CME Group Tour Championship’s closing spherical. She had 5 holes to go at Tiburon Golf Membership. She was in the midst of the golf green after her tee shot on the 527-yard par-5 14th. She had simply watched Leona Maguire, her closest pursuer within the LPGA’s two-mil-to-the-winner season-ender, mishit one right into a marsh. 

    She dumped hers in, too. Ko didn’t go left, the place you would put up a car parking zone with the entire room on the dogleg proper. As an alternative, Ko tried to parallel-park her ball into a good window of water, bunkers and little grass on the appropriate. And also you and Karen Stupples and Morgan Pressel requested why.

    And Ko stated why not.  

    Then she received. By two.

    On the opening in query, Ko didn’t wish to journey that far proper. However she wasn’t going left. Or perhaps extra precisely, she didn’t have to. 

    Everybody else be damned. 

    Afterward on Sunday, Ko was reflective, because the victory glow tends to make one. The 2014 CME winner, she’s stamped her identify on the occasion — although, Ko’s not the fondest of that tourney pic of 17-year-old her in glasses, thanks very a lot — and there was dialog earlier within the week over who was the higher participant: the teenager phenom, or the 25-year-old who misplaced her manner for a bit, however is now world No. 2. 

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    Ko’s mother knew that reply. 

    “My mother does joke to me at occasions,” the youthful Ko stated Friday. “She’s, like, ‘You performed so a lot better whenever you had been, like, 15.’

    “I used to be, like, ‘Thanks, Mother. OK, what am I meant to do with that info?’”

    Great things. Is she proper? Who’s to say? Soar forward just a few years, to 2015 and 2016, and Ko received a whopping 9 occasions, together with two majors. This yr, she’s received 3 times. And you need to take all of that into your individual guess. 

    This, too. The change is prolonged, however Ko is a superb storyteller, and there may be outstandingly a degree. 

    “I’m simply curious, whenever you look again to that woman that yr in 2014 perhaps versus the lady you at the moment are, how do you evaluate?” a reporter requested Sunday. 

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    “Yeah, I believe that week I really flew from Mexico as a result of we had Lorena’s [Ochoa] occasion the week prior,” Ko started. “I used to be coming into the week somewhat drained, and I keep in mind I didn’t play that nice. In order that yr was the primary time that we had the million greenback for the Globe outdoors of the occasion. I believe for those who had been a high 9 coming into the race that you simply had the chance to win the Globe for those who received the occasion. I ended up doing that.

    “I believe I performed further holes that day, and I used to be within the playoff with Carlota [Ciganda] and Julieta [Granada], and all three of us had been very totally different type of gamers. I believe there was a second within the playoff the place I really thought I had misplaced as a result of Carlota had hit a extremely shut shot in there, however clearly she ended up lacking the putt.

    “You understand, lots of issues have occurred since then. I used to be 17 in 2014. I don’t really feel 25 proper now. There’s been lots of ups and downs each on and off the golf course, however all of these moments have made moments like right this moment. I believe, sure, perhaps once I was youthful, I performed perhaps somewhat bit extra freely as a result of I used to be somewhat clueless on the similar time. 

    “However now, you already know, I’ve gone via my share of ups and downs, and I believe that’s helped me to appreciate that, hey, we’re going to have good days and we’re additionally going to have unhealthy days. I believe my perspective on how I deal with the unhealthy photographs or the unhealthy occasions is quite a bit higher now than I did then.

    “I hope that I’ve grown extra as a person since then, and I believe golf could be very relatable to life basically, and I believe golf retains you very humble as properly. It’s a steady studying journey, however I’m excited with the place I’m at in life and on the golf course. However, you already know, I don’t miss the occasions of carrying the glasses and having to wash my lenses too. Yeah.”

    At this level, Ko laughed. And keep in mind, all of that above got here after 72 holes on the match with the richest prize in LPGA historical past. Let’s proceed. 

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    “Simply as a follow-up,” a reporter stated, “so would you say you sort of recaptured the identical sort of freedom that you simply had been enjoying with again then, simply another way?”

    “I believe so,” Ko stated. “I believe I’m freer now figuring out that, hey, no matter goes to occur goes to occur. Typically I can put my one hundred pc intention, and it does nothing like I meant it to.

    “Then generally I don’t assume it’s going to go nice, and it goes nice. So I believe simply all these sort of experiences assist me to grow to be extra free as a result of on the finish of the day, it’s like of venture. Sure, you sort of need that to go in your favor, however I can’t — like, simply because I grow to be extra controlling, it’s not going to do any good for me.

    “So I believe simply to let go, and I’ve stated all yr, you already know, what’s meant to be goes to be. I need that to be, like, how I envision, however on the similar time, I’m enjoying alongside the world’s finest feminine golfers, and I do know it’s not straightforward, so I simply have gotten to give attention to me. And if I do job of what I’ve in entrance of me, then that’s all I can actually ask for.”

    All of this isn’t to say this model of Ko is firing at flags and ramming putts 6 toes previous. She’s nonetheless calculated. However you study issues.

    Just like the playbook for when your ball goes somewhat too far proper. 

    Briefly, Ko’s 14th on Sunday was surgical. Exact. No nerves. She mounted the harm, with nary a scar. 

    After discovering her ball in an unplayable spot, she dropped, hit her fourth shot to about 30 toes and two-putted for a bogey. Maguire bogeyed too, and Ko’s benefit held at one. 

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    After a par on 15, she birdied 16. And 17. The leaderboard learn this manner: Ko, 17-under; Maguire, 15-under; Anna Nordqvist, 14-under.

    After Ko parred 18, that’s how the leaderboard learn on the finish. She’ll head into subsequent yr a winner.   

    And now we glance forward. We’ll achieve this with a query. 

    What would occur if one in all golf’s best-ever gamers grew to become unafraid to take dangers, as a result of she will be able to recuperate from no matter consequence?

    When you consider the reply, we’ll finish issues with this line from Pressel, after Ko’s birdie on 16. 

    “Have a look at how stoic and calm and settled she seems. Like, yup, that’s what I’m presupposed to do.”

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    Nick Piastowski

    Nick Piastowski Editor

    Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at and Golf Journal. In his function, he’s chargeable for modifying, writing and creating tales throughout the golf house. And when he’s not writing about methods to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native might be enjoying the sport, hitting the ball left, proper and brief, and consuming a chilly beer to scrub away his rating. You may attain out to him about any of those matters — his tales, his sport or his beers — at [email protected]

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