Rolex Rankings No. 3 Lydia Ko is again in the mix heading into the weekend at the JTBC Classic presented by Barbasol. The Kiwi followed up her opening 68 with a 5-under 67 on Friday at Aviara Golf Club, carding six birdies and one bogey to sit in a tie for second. Ko notched her 17th career victory at the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio just a few weeks ago and that good form has continued in Carlsbad, California, giving her a shot at another win.
“I think you do have to take advantage of any opportunity you get,” said the 24-year-old. “I stuck it close on both of the par-5s that I birdied out of the three, and then one I got really lucky. I completely powered my putt and luckily had like a backboard inside the hole to kind of keep it in. No matter if it's a par-5, par-4, par-3, I'm trying to set up opportunities, and I think that puts a little less stress on the putting. At the end of the day, the more opportunities you get, you feel like you're going to keep knocking on the door and then just wait for your share to fall.”
Ko did just that in round two, hitting 13 of 18 greens with 25 putts. Sitting in a tie for second with Hye-Jin Choi, the 2016 JTBC Classic champion looks ahead to the weekend with plenty of confidence, counting the first two rounds among her best ever at Aviara.
“This is some of the most solid golf I have played on this golf course. I have played some questionable golf here, too. Hopefully just being able to draw back on some memories from 2016. My distances are a little different compared to then,” said Ko. “I feel like even though it's the same course, to some extent doesn't feel like the same course. Just trying to play the best golf now and give myself good opportunities. The greens, even though they're Poa annua, haven't been super bumpy and been in really good shape, so trying to take advantage of those conditions as well.”