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

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

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

“Wow, I wasn’t anticipating that,” stated NBC analyst Karen Stupples, herself a longtime participant.

“There isn’t any cause to be over there,” stated Morgan Pressel, additionally a commentator and veteran.

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

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“It is one factor for Leona to hit it into the water — it was a poor shot — however I am 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 course of the green after her tee shot on the 527-yard par-5 14th. She had simply watched Leona Maguire, her closest pursuer of hers within the LPGA’s two-mil-to-the-winner season-ender, mishit one right into a marsh.

She dumped hers in, too. Ko did not go left, the place you may 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 decent window of water, bunkers and little grass on the suitable. And also you and Karen Stupples and Morgan Pressel requested why.

And Ko stated why not.

Then she gained. By two.

On the opening in query, Ko did not need to journey that far proper. However she wasn’t going left. Or perhaps extra precisely, she did not want 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 title 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 his means 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 instances,” the youthful Ko stated Friday. “She’s, like, ‘You performed so a lot better once you have 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 gained a whopping 9 instances, together with two majors. This yr, she’s gained 3 times. And you must take all of that into your personal guess.

This, too. The alternate is prolonged, however Ko is a wonderful storyteller, and there may be outstandingly some extent.

“I am simply curious, once you look again to that lady that yr in 2014 perhaps versus the girl you at the moment are, how do you examine?” a reporter requested Sunday.

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“Yeah, I believe that week I truly 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 a bit drained, and I bear in mind I did not play that nice. In order that yr was the primary time that we had the million greenback for the Globe exterior of the occasion. I believe in case you have been a high 9 coming into the race that you just had the chance to win the Globe in case you gained 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 have been very totally different model of gamers. I believe there was a second within the playoff the place I truly thought I had misplaced as a result of Carlota had hit a very shut shot in there, however clearly she ended up lacking the putt.

“You already know, quite a lot of issues have occurred since then. I used to be 17 in 2014. I do not really feel 25 proper now. There’s been quite a lot of ups and downs each on and off the golf course, however all of these moments have made moments like immediately. I believe, sure, perhaps after I was youthful, I performed perhaps a bit bit extra freely as a result of I used to be a bit clueless on the similar time.

“However now, you realize, I’ve gone by means of my share of ups and downs, and I believe that is helped me to understand that, hey, we’ll have good days and we’re additionally going to have dangerous days. I believe my perspective on how I deal with the dangerous pictures or the dangerous occasions is so much higher now than I did then.

“I hope that I’ve grown extra as a person since then, and I believe golf may be very relatable to life usually, and I believe golf retains you very humble as properly. It is a steady studying journey, however I am excited with the place I’m at in life and on the golf course. However, you realize, I do not miss the instances of sporting the glasses and having to wash my lenses too. Yeah.”

At this level, Ko laughed. And bear 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 form of recaptured the identical form of freedom that you just have been taking part in with again then, simply otherwise?”

“I believe so,” Ko stated. “I believe I am freer now understanding 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 supposed it to.

“Then typically I do not assume it is going to go nice, and it goes nice. So I believe simply all these form of experiences assist me to change into extra free as a result of on the finish of the day, it is like a bet. Sure, you form of need that to go in your favor, however I am unable to — like, simply because I change into extra controlling, it isn’t going to do any good for me.

“So I believe simply to let go, and I’ve stated all yr, you realize, what’s meant to be goes to be. I need that to be, like, how I envision, however on the similar time, I am taking part in alongside the world’s finest feminine golfers, and I do know it isn’t straightforward, so I simply have gotten to deal with me. And if I do a great job of what I’ve in entrance of me, then that is 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 be taught issues.

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

In brief, Ko’s 14th on Sunday was surgical. Correct. No nerves. She fastened the injury, 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 fashion: Ko, 17-under; Maguire, 15-under; Anna Nordqvist, 14-under.

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

And now we glance forward. We’ll accomplish that with a query.

What would occur if one among golf’s best-ever gamers grew to become unafraid to take dangers, as a result of she will get well from no matter consequence?

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

“Take a look at how stoic and calm and settled she seems. Like, yup, that is what I am purported to do.”

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Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Journal. In his function, he’s answerable for modifying, writing and growing tales throughout the golf house. And when he is not writing about methods to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native might be taking part in the sport, hitting the ball left, proper and brief, and consuming a chilly beer to clean away his rating. You possibly can attain out to him about any of those subjects — his tales, his sport or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.

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