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Ko confirms Gilchrist as new coach

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 7/02/2017
Lydia Ko, of New Zealand, celebrates with her trophy after winning the Evian Championship women's golf tournament in Evian, eastern France, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015. © AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani Lydia Ko, of New Zealand, celebrates with her trophy after winning the Evian Championship women's golf tournament in Evian, eastern France, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015.

Lydia Ko is so confident about her tweaked swing that she has taken on Gary Gilchrist as a full-time coach.

Kiwi world No.1 Ko was impressed by South African Gilchrist when linking with him on a trial basis late in 2016.

Further progress with the Florida-based mentor in January convinced the 19-year-old to join a stable which already features leading LPGA rivals Ariya Jutanugarn and Shanshan Feng.

Ko ended a three-year association with coach David Leadbetter when her form faded in the back end of last year.

She also switched clubs and has hired a new caddie for 2017, South African Gary Matthews.

Gilchrist's simple, relaxed approach appealed to Ko immediately.

He focused primarily on her set-up to alleviate chinks in her long game.

"We didn't rip the swing apart and that was very important," she said.

"It's just more fluid. The swing may not look so different but, to me, it feels different. It's cleared up my mind."

Ko was speaking in Auckland at a promotional event for the New Zealand Women's Open in September, the country's first LPGA tournament.

She skipped the LPGA season-opening event in the Bahamas in January.

The first sighting of a refreshed and exuberant Ko will be at The Women's Australian Open in Adelaide next week.

She feels rested after spending all of December in her native Korea, barely even sighting her clubs before linking with Gilchrist.

"I feel I've learned about my game and it's been a good off-season," she said.

"It almost takes me back to three years ago when I was a rookie. When you're a rookie on tour, everything's exciting. That's a similar mindset for this year too."

She plans to play 26 tournaments in 2017, the same number as last year.

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