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S. Korean major champion in LPGA draws inspiration from Hall of Famer

Yonhap Korea Stories 07:35 July 29, 2019

EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France, July 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korean golfer Ko Jin-young isn't usually one to lean on others for motivation. But before winning her second LPGA major of the season in France on Sunday, Ko made an exception and turned to a World Golf Hall of Famer for inspiration.

In this AFP photo, Ko Jin-young of South Korea kisses the champion's trophy, with her national flag in the background, after winning the Evian Championship at Evian Resort Golf Club in Evian-les-Bains, France, on July 28, 2019. (Yonhap)

Ko captured the Evian Championship at 15-under 269, with a rock-solid 67 in the final round that allowed her to overcome a four-stroke final round deficit at Evian Resort Golf Club in Evian-les-Bains.

On the morning of the final round, Ko said she met with Lorena Ochoa, a 27-time LPGA winner and two-time major champion. She won four consecutive Player of the Year honors starting in 2006.

Ko's caddie, Dave Brooker, carried Ochoa's bag for about three years in the mid-aughts.

"It was really great to meet Ochoa this morning," Ko said. "She said, 'Try to go for many birdies.' I said, 'Okay, I'll try.' I was happy."

Ko went on to pick up five birdies on the rainy day, more than anyone inside the top 10 except Moriya Jutanugarn, who made six birdies en route to tying for sixth place. Other contenders tumbled down the leaderboard with some crooked numbers. Kim Hyo-joo, an overnight leader at 15-under, had a triple bogey at the par-3 14th. Park Sung-hyun, who was one stroke back of Kim at the start of Sunday, had five bogeys and one double bogey.

And Ko was blissfully unaware of all that was happening around her.

In this Associated Press photo, Ko Jin-young of South Korea celebrates a birdie on the 17th hole during the final round of the Evian Championship at Evian Resort Golf Club in Evian-les-Bains, France, on July 28, 2019. (Yonhap)

"I try not to look at other players' swings and scores," said Ko, who played in the final group with Kim and Park. "I just think about my swing and my scores."

Ko said it was important to stay patient on the course under inclement conditions, and she didn't want to make weather an excuse because everyone else was playing in the same situation.

"I think I got stronger mentally on the course," she said. "My swing was a little loose the last three days, but my putting was getting better. That's why I played so much better today."

When Ko won her first career major at the ANA Inspiration in April this year, she became quite emotional. She said she tried not to cry so much again this time and wanted to keep smiling, but when the South Korean national anthem, "Aegukga," played during the victory ceremony, Ko lost it again.

"When I heard the national anthem, I couldn't hold it," she said. "It was really great. I'm really proud of Korea."

In this Associated Press photo, Ko Jin-young of South Korea stands next to the champion's trophy, with her national flag draped over her, after winning the Evian Championship at Evian Resort Golf Club in Evian-les-Bains, France, on July 28, 2019. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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