It was raining. It was cold. It was tough. And it all added up to Jin Young Ko’s streak of 14 consecutive rounds in the 60s coming to an end. The former No. 1 birdied the last hole at the BMW Ladies Championship to shoot 1-under 71. She had previously tied the record of 14 set by Annika Sorenstam and So Yeon Ryu.
“I think I was able to tie with Annika and So Yeon because I worked hard every moment and I gave it my best every hole and every shot,” said Ko. “So I think that this in itself is really meaningful, and really 14 consecutive rounds in the 60s is not easy. I worked hard a lot, and also you need a bit of luck as well.”
Na Rin An paces the field after an 8-under 64, tying the record set by Danielle Kang in 2019 at LPGA International Busan. A two-time winner on the Korean LPGA, An holds a one-shot lead over In Gee Chun and Ju Young Pak. A Lim Kim, Hae Ran Ryu and Kang are two back at 6 under.
Your clubhouse leader after Day 1 of the 2021 BMW Ladies Championship, Na Rin An! 👏 pic.twitter.com/n3wm5bKgLX
The BMW marks An’s second start on the LPGA after a T-63 at the 2020 U.S. Women’s Open. The 69th-ranked player in the world, An is currently signed up for the final stage of LPGA Q-Series. A victory this week, however, would grant her LPGA membership.
“Overall I was extremely satisfied with my putting,” said An. “I think the putting went really well today, and that was behind my strong round.”
As Ko closes in on World No. 1 Nelly Korda, who is taking the week off, a top-10 finish at the BMW would clinch the LEADERS Top 10 competition and the $100,000 bonus. Ko currently has 10 top-10 finishes in 16 starts.
While the solo record of consecutive rounds in the 60s will have to wait for another day for Ko, there is another honor on the line. A victory this week in Busan from Ko or any other of her compatriots would make it the 200th title for a South Korean player on tour.
“I think it’s kind of a fascinating coincidence that we are playing in an event in Korea when that event will determine whether we will see a 200th win by a Korean player on the LPGA Tour,” said Ko.
“Obviously there are a lot of Korean players in the field, and I think I will be happy for anyone to gain that win. Of course, I will try my best. And if I were to be that Korean player to record the 200th win, it will really be an honor and a joy.”
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