Ko revitalised for major

Lydia Ko. Photo: Getty Images
Lydia Ko. Photo: Getty Images
Lydia Ko feels revitalised heading into the first women's major golf tournament of the year today.

The ANA Inspiration starts at Rancho Mirage in California, a tournament the Kiwi describes as the Masters of women's golf. The 2016 champion has fond memories.

"It definitely nice to be back and obviously I have a lot of good memories jumping into Poppies pond in 2016. This is a special place and it's like the Masters of the women's game and we have tradition that maybe even the Masters doesn't have," Ko said.

"It's incredible and the Champions dinner is also a great representation of this event, including the junior inspiration golfers and the legends and I think they do a great job."

Ko's form heading into her tilt at a third major has been encouraging. She spent a couple of weeks working with her coach Ted Oh after the Asian swing with a focus on her putting which she had struggled with early in the season.

After five top 20 finishes in six starts since the beginning of the year, Ko thinks she can be among the contenders this week.

"Apart from the Australian Open [missed cut] it's been pretty solid results wise," Ko said.

"The more times I have put myself in contention with solid rounds I know that has built my confidence and it's really important for me. I just go out with belief which is a key to play well, and I can trust myself."

The putting practice appears to have made a difference with Ko up to 30th in the LPGA Tour putting averages and finishing tied for 8th a fortnight ago at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup in Arizona on 18-under par, and in a tie for 13th on 12-under at the Kia Classic which finished on Monday in California.

And while the two times major champion is pleased with those results, she acknowledges the course set up at Rancho Mirage makes this major a different proposition.

Ko is ranked a lowly 85th on the LPGA Tour so far this year for driving accuracy and 114th for distance.

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