Jin Young Ko a rising star on LPGA Tour

Ko defends title in ANA Inspiration

Jin Young Ko

Some athletes have numbers next to their names that are indelible.

For Babe Ruth it was 714 (career home runs). For Wayne Gretzky, it’s 92 (goals in a season). And for LPGA Tour wunderkind Jin Young Ko, that figure will be 114.

That’s the number of consecutive bogey-free holes the 25-year-old South Korean played across three midsummer tournaments last year as she ascended to become the top-ranked golfer on tour. That eclipses Tiger Woods’ record of 110-straight holes without a bogey that he set in 2000 when he was at the top of his game.

Like Woods that year, Ko had her own laundry list of laurels in 2019, including a Tour-leading four victories, LPGA Rolex Player of the Year, a money-list topping $2,773,894 in earnings and the Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average. She also held the top position for playing 64 rounds under par, with 47 rounds in the 60s. All impressive accomplishments.

Among her four ’19 victories were two majors, the Evian Championship and the ANA Inspiration. In the latter, she battled the heat at Mission Hills Country Club near Los Angeles to shoot a final-round a 2-under 70 to register a three-stroke victory over Mi Hyang Lee for her first major title.

With the Tour on hiatus due to quarantine restrictions, she had yet to make a start this season as of early August. But she’ll be the reigning champion at this year’s ANA Inspiration, which takes place without spectators at Mission Hills and airs Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 10-13, on Golf Channel.

Full name: Jin Young Ko

Birth date: July 7, 1995

Birthplace: Seoul, South Korea

Turned pro: 2013

Professional wins: 17 (six on the LPGA Tour)

Honors and achievements: LPGA Player of the Year (2019), LPGA Tour leading money winner (2019); LPGA Vare Trophy (2019); LPGA Rookie of the Year (2018)

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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