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Ko itching for success at Olympia Fields

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 29/06/2017 Angelo Risso

Kiwi golfer Lydia Ko, fresh off the pain of losing her world No.1 ranking, will head into this weekend's Women's PGA Championship at Olympia Fields outside Chicago with plenty to prove.

The 20-year-old had her premier ranking stripped from her in mid-June, and was demoted to No.3 on Monday after an error-plagued start to the 2017 tour.

Ko, born in South Korea before moving to Auckland as a child, finished a disappointing 25th in last weekend's LPGA tournament in Arkansas.

Despite mostly producing the goods on the fairway, Ko has struggled on the green in the past 12 months and hasn't won a tour event since last July's Marathon Classic in Ohio - or a major since April 2016 at Rancho Mirage.

But she'll have the chance to make amends in Illinois, where the second of five women's 2017 majors will be held this weekend.

It's a course the Aucklander knows well, having finished second in last year's Championship event and third in 2014.

Ko hoped to do the business on a golf course she liked, and against ranking usurpers Ryu So-Yeon and Ariya Jutanugarn.

She said the pair's form eased the pressure on her somewhat, as they motivated each other to reach new performance levels.

"It's beautiful, the course is in amazing condition - it's like there's no piece of grass in the wrong place (and) the vibe is great," Ko told reporters.

"It's a great balance of holes, not all short or all long.

"Some of the other girls are playing at such great standards, and this is a new week - every day's a new day.

"I'm thinking more about how can I be consistent and stay in contention."

Ko was on top of the rankings for 85 straight weeks until demoted in mid-June, the third-longest stint as No.1 in LPGA history.

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