Aces, course records and victories: Lydia Ko is having an incredible 2023
It may seem like no one is having a better 2023 than Jon Rahm, but there’s another elite golfer absolutely peaking who we aren’t really talking about.
Ko doesn’t have nearly the amount of tournaments at her disposal at this point in the year, while Rahm has already played five times. But wherever she has played, she’s succeeded. Let’s start with the absolute beginning of 2023, just after the new year began.
Ko had just gotten married at the tail end of 2022 and traveled to her native New Zealand for her honeymoon. Naturally, when a golfer goes to New Zealand, Top 100 Course in the World Tara Iti is a must. The 23rd-best course in the world, according to GOLF Magazine’s course raters, is less than a decade old, so its women’s course record was absolutely in danger once Ko stepped foot on the property.
Then it was especially in danger once she made an ace on the 2nd. A few hours later, Tara Iti had to adjust its record books. Ko had set a standard with a 63. (Tara Iti’s record keepers were busy in January, as fellow Kiwi Ryan Fox carded a men’s record of 61.) “It was a pretty good day at the office,” Ko said this week.
“We played a lot of golf on our honeymoon. It’s one of the mutual things that we both enjoy doing and can do together, so we played a lot of golf. And then I got a hole in one, and I think that might have been my first hole in one like outside of a competition, too. So really couldn’t have been my better, yeah.”
The only way things could get better for Ko was, well, if she just kept on winning. Ko enjoyed her January break and then headed to play in the Ladies European Tour event in Saudi Arabia last week. She made four bogeys and 25 birdies and pipped Aditi Ashok by one to win one of the the biggest prizes of the LET season.
“I putted really well last week, and I think that was kind of the key for me to be able to win,” Ko said from this week’s LPGA stop in Thailand. “I’m playing three weeks in a row and then taking a week off and then playing another one, so hopefully I can continue that good momentum and not take anything for granted.”
The momentum continued Thursday with a first-round 68. Four birdies, ho hum, no bogeys. Life is good for World No. 1 right now and she knows it:
“You know, I’ve been very thankful about the things that have happened in my life both on and off the golf course, and I think a lot of great things has happened and it’s actually helped me to like just kind of have more fun out here.
“At the end of the day I know it’s my job, but might as well do it while having fun.”