Jin Young Ko’s worst round on the LPGA, an 8-over 80, came on home soil after a two-month break from the tour to nurse a nagging wrist injury. The World No. 1 posted a catastrophic 10 on the par-5 18th at Oak Valley Country Club to close her round.
The top three players in the world were grouped together on Thursday at the BMW Ladies Championship. Ko played alongside hotshot rookie Atthaya Thitikul, who posted a course-record 63 to pace the field, and No. 2-ranked Minjee Lee, who shot 70.
“Golf can be like this,” Ko told South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency. “Things don’t always go the way I want them to. I did the best I could. Whatever the final score is, it’s on me to accept that and to figure out where I can get better. I will try to stay positive to get ready for the remaining rounds.”
Ko told Yonhap that she didn’t want to make any excuses with her wrist, noting that her goal is to wrap up the tournament playing pain-free. She’s currently tied for 76th in a field of 78. There is no cut.
After carding four bogeys in a row on Nos. 10-13, Ko lost her first drive off the par-5 18th into the trees on the left side. Her provisional bounded down a cart path down the left side before settling just below the tree line, giving the right-handed Ko no place to take a stance.
Ko hit her fourth shot left-handed, and the ball trickled straight downhill to the path. Her fifth shot found the left rough, still a good distance from the green.
The sixth shot was similarly dreadful, landing way left and short. She failed to pitch her seventh shot onto the green, remaining in the rough. Her eighth blow left her a putt of about 4 feet, which she missed.
Ko has made a habit of coming back strong after long breaks from the tour, but not this time.
How out of character is the 80? Consider that earlier this year she posted a tour record 16 consecutive rounds in the 60s and in late March, her streak of 34 consecutive rounds under par, another tour record, came to an end at the Chevron Championship. The streak dated back to July 2021.