Jin Young Ko is back right where she left off. Coming off a win in her 2022 season debut at the HSBC Women’s World Championship during the Tour’s Asia swing, Ko holds the 18-hole lead at the JTBC Classic presented by Barbasol in her first U.S. start since her victory at the 2021 CME Group Tour Championship in November. It’s her fourth appearance at Aviara Golf Club, where she’s never finished worse than a tie for 10th. But this time, Ko has her family in tow, and they’ll be with her until the U.S. Women’s Open this year.
“It's first time they visit in San Diego, so my mom said, ‘I love this place. I want to buy house in this place.’ I said, ‘do you know how much the house in here?’ And then she said, ‘Yeah, how much?’ And I said a lot. She said, ‘Okay,’” laughed Ko. “That's it. My father loves here and mom as well.”
Ko said she’s set herself some high expectations to impress her parents this week since they’ve taken the time to follow her on Tour for this upcoming stretch. “It's a little bit of motivation to me because my mom's room is two rooms behind me so I always woke up the front of my mom's room and I can always hear like cooking, like wash dish, something,” said Ko.
She’s already impressed the world through the first round. Her opening 65 is breaking records, as she continues her consecutive rounds in the 60s streak (16) and makes it 31-straight rounds under par, dating back to the fourth round of the 2021 Amundi Evian Championship. It’s her fourth time leading after day one in her Tour career, in which she’s gone on to win all three previous occasions. Her mental game is as strong as ever she said, and her top-notch play is making her job ever more entertaining.
“I'm really enjoying right now on the course, playing with whoever. I can focus on myself. Shot by shot I can feel confidence 100% and I can focus 100% for my ball,” said Ko. “So, yeah, I love to play golf right now.”