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Muirfield 2022

Ko ready to rekindle links love


World number one buoyant ahead of AIGWO return

Jinyoung Ko at Muirfield on Wednesday

This will be Jinyoung Ko’s first AIG Women’s Open since 2019 and, according to the 27-year-old, she could not have picked a better course to mark her return.

The world number one is relishing the chance to play at Muirfield, having heard so much about the course Jack Nicklaus once described as the best in Britain.

“I heard a lot of things about Muirfield, this course,” the South Korean explained. “I really wanted to play this golf course. I heard it's an amazing place and I can't wait to play this course.”

Ko, who turned professional in 2013, the last time a major championship was held at Muirfield, is hoping her links course prowess can push her over the line at this event.

Her last appearance at Woburn produced a third-place finish but it is her performance at Turnberry in 2015, where she finished as runner-up to compatriot Inbee Park, that is giving her confidence ahead of her latest AIG Women’s Open charge.

“I can't forget the memories of Turnberry, and I love to play a links course,” she said.

“It's a little tough but I love it, and well, yeah, last night, my caddie sent the 2013 video of the win (by Phil Mickelson in The Open) and the highlights, and I checked the link.

“I really missed playing links golf and am glad to be back here.”

The course is sure to provide a stern test, however, with close to 150 bunkers for this year's field to navigate.

Ko suggested that level par might be enough for a win this week, believing that the elements could play their part during an already notoriously difficult back nine.

“Well, I played yesterday, number 12, 13, 14, 15 was big into the wind,” she said. “I guess I got three clubs more than like 30 metres more than the other golf course, so it's really tough.

“And 16, 17, 18 was downbreeze, so it was easier. But 12, 13, 14, 15 was hardest.

“It's really hard to play the par-3s this week. I played yesterday, 18 holes, 13 was really tough. Like it has two bunkers left and three bunkers right, and you've got 7- or 6-iron and narrow green. It's really hard.”

Ko will begin her pursuit of glory alongside Minjee Lee and Nelly Korda in the pick of the pairings for the opening two days.

And Ko, who has been top of the world rankings for over three years, is relishing the prospect of lining up alongside her potential challengers.

"I got the mail and I checked the pairings and I said ooh, it's cool - they are really good players on this tour, so if I'm playing with them I've got a lot of things I can learn from them, so I really like to play with them,” she beamed. “It's really cool - it will be really nice and I want to beat them!"

Away from the course, though Ko has had little opportunity to explore Scotland, she is enjoying the cuisine.

She revealed her love for sausage rolls at the Scottish Open last week and hopes the supply will continue in Gullane.

“I had two each day last week, I didn't eat them yet this week,” she teased. “I can't see the sausage rolls out on the course, so it's very sad. Where are the sausage rolls?

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