Golf: Top ranked Ko hopes the third time is the charm at HSBC Women's Champions

New Zealand golfer Lydia Ko speaking during a press conference at the Sentosa Golf Club on March 2, 2016.
New Zealand golfer Lydia Ko speaking during a press conference at the Sentosa Golf Club on March 2, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

SINGAPORE - World No. 1 Lydia Ko is hoping the third time will be the charm for her at the HSBC Women's Champions this week at the Sentosa Golf Club.

The 18-year-old New Zealander finished 15th at the 2014 edition and was runner-up to Park In Bee last year and is hoping to go one better at the US$1.5 million (US$2.11 million) tournament at the Serapong Course.

Speaking at Wednesday's press conference, Ko said: "I thought I played really solidly last year, so it kind of gives me confidence going into this year. Even though the course is similar and also the set-up, I think the wind is going to be a huge difference this week."

Ko won five times last season, including a maiden Major at the Evian Championship, to secure the LPGA Tour's Player of the Year award as well as finish 2015 as the top-ranked female golfer.

Victory at the HSBC Women's Champions will not be easy though. World No. 2 Park, who also won five times last term which included two Majors, is back to defend her title.

The elite 63-women field features 18 of the top 20 women golfers and former HSBC champions like Paula Creamer (2014), Angela Stanford (2012), Karrie Webb (2011) and Ai Miyazato (2010).

Ko, whose season has already included a Ladies European Tour win at last month's ISPS Handa New Zealand Women's Open, added: "You need to put yourself in good positions off the tee, because the greens are so big. Even if you hit it onto the green, it doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be an easy two-putt or you're coming off with a birdie."