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Top-ranked Ko seeks third straight Founders Cup title

(AFP)

World number one Ko Jin-young of South Korea chases her third consecutive Founders Cup title on a third different course this week at Upper Montclair Country Club.

Ko won her 13th career LPGA Tour crown and sixth in 10 starts in March in Singapore. She comes to the layout in Clifton, New Jersey, off a runner-up effort two weeks ago at Palos Verdes, California.

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“I practiced just two days in off week, so when I got here, I forgot how to play golf,” Ko said Wednesday. “It feels weird.

“I have lots of tournaments this year, so I need to rest before the big (ones) coming up, but I need to practice. I didn’t because it was really hot in Dallas, so I didn’t want to get the clubs on the range.”

Ko won the Founders title in 2019 at Wildfire Golf Club in Phoenix and after the event was called off in 2020 due to Covid-19, won it again last year in wire-to-wire fashion at Mountain Ridge in nearby West Caldwell, New Jersey.

“I loved Mountain Ridge. I love this golf course too, but a lot of players are saying it’s really tough,” Ko said. “Fairways are really hard, but it depends on the wind.”

Ko dismisses expectations given her ranking and past success.

“I don’t care if the other people think Jin-young is going to be winning or if they’re expecting one more win for this week,” Ko said. “I just care about myself, how to play this golf course.”

Ko returned to the world number one spot in February.

“I’m really the happiest golfer right now. I didn’t expect I would get back ranking number one,” she said. “I started well and I’m (the) happiest golfer on and off the golf course.”

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