Lydia Ko topped the LPGA money list in the previous year, earning a staggering $4 million. This year, her earnings have diminished to just $200,000.


Lydia Ko topped the LPGA money list in the previous year, earning a staggering $4 million. This year, her earnings have diminished to just $200,000.

Lydia Ko has experienced a prolonged period of struggle, but the tides may be turning for her at the 2023 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.

In her first round, Ko, the former world No. 1, carded an impressive 65, marking her best performance in what has otherwise been a forgettable season. Her round included seven birdies and just one bogey, surpassing her previous best round of the year by a single shot. Despite boasting an illustrious career with 19 wins and 102 top-10 finishes, Ko’s 2023 season has been far from her usual standard. Her only top-10 finish this year dates back to February, with an average finish of 43rd in 2023. She participated in 15 events leading up to the tournament at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas, but missed the cut in four of them. Although she managed to make the weekend in three out of the five majors, it has undoubtedly been an atypical season for Lydia Ko.

Out of 52 rounds played in 2023, she has broken the 70-mark only 15 times, including her impressive Friday performance. One of her lowest points this year occurred a month ago during the third round of the CPKC Women’s Open, where she recorded a discouraging 10-over 82.

Lydia Ko currently ranks 84th on the LPGA’s 2023 money list, with total earnings of $209,776. This is a stark contrast to her previous year’s accomplishment when she secured the money title with an impressive $4,364,403.

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Her recent 65 in the opening round of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship may serve as the much-needed spark to reignite her career. Ko reflected on her performance, saying, “I played pretty solid. I don’t think I put myself in too many crazy positions where I had to make up and down. Actually hit it in the water on the par-3, 6 or 5, whatever it is, and I had to drop and I chipped it in for par. So that was definitely good momentum because I had gone birdie, bogey, birdie, and if I didn’t chip it in, would’ve been bogey or more.” She continued, “So I think that just helped my day going. I set up a lot of good birdie opportunities, especially from 9 onwards, and couple where it was only like a couple feet. So it’s definitely nice to have those kind of stress-free birdies.”

Reflecting on her history at the Walmart NW Arkansas event, where she secured one of her 19 career wins in 2016, Ko expressed nostalgia, saying, “I see the picture of me in the clubhouse and it feels like a really long time ago. It was 2016, so like seven years ago. A lot of things have happened since then.” She also shared her fondness for the event, stating, “It’s always good to be back at a place where I have a lot of good memories. Played with the same pro-am group for eight years, so it’s just feel like it’s home away from home. Outside of my golf, just seeing them is also like a treat for me when I come here to Arkansas.”


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