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Sports

May 19, 2017

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Ko unfazed by rankings race ahead of Kingsmill

Ko unfazed by rankings race ahead of Kingsmill

NEW YORK: Struggling world number one Lydia Ko said on Wednesday she is unfazed by the prospect of being deposed from top spot as she heads into this week’s Kingsmill Championship in Virginia.

The South Korean-born New Zealander has not posted a tournament victory in 18 starts since last July, leaving her just 0.25 points ahead of world number two Ryu So-Yeon in the rankings.

With Thailand’s world number three Ariya Jutanugarn, the defending champion at Kingsmill, also lurking behind, Ko, 20, could see her 82-week run as number one come to an end this week if either of her rivals finishes ahead of her.

Ko, however, said the possibility of being dethroned was not on her mind as she prepared for Thursday’s opening round in Williamsburg.

“I don’t really look at the rankings myself,” Ko said. “I don’t go in my spare time and look, ‘Hey, what position am I in?’ I kind of know these things through media and when people tell me, ‘Hey it’s getting close.’ It could change this week.”

Ko, a teen prodigy who has won two majors in her career, first climbed to number one in February 2015.

“It has been a huge honour to be in this position,” Ko reflected. “It has always been a dream of mine to be the number one-ranked player. For it to have happened so early and for it to have happened, it’s something I’m very fortunate about.”

The fact that so many rivals were challenging her position reflected the healthy state of women’s golf, she added.

“The girls are playing amazing golf and there is an incredible amount of talent on this tour in the women’s game in general,” Ko told reporters.

Ko, who won her first LPGA tournament as a 15-year-old at the 2012 Canadian Open, said she still planned to stick by her goal of retiring from the sport at the age of 30. “My goal is to retire at 30, so that’s another 10 years from now,” Ko said.

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