Golf: Former world No. 1 Lydia Ko hopes to rediscover magic in Singapore this week

Golfer Lydia Ko is not ruling out lifting the HSBC Women's World Championship trophy in Singapore, given her solid record here.
Golfer Lydia Ko is not ruling out lifting the HSBC Women's World Championship trophy in Singapore, given her solid record here. PHOTO: REUTERS/USA TODAY SPORTS

SINGAPORE - She might be winless since July 2016 but former world No. 1 Lydia Ko is not pushing the panic button yet.

The 20-year-old New Zealander has seen signs in her game to suggest that the drought will come to an end sooner rather than later and given her solid record in Singapore, is not ruling out lifting the HSBC Women's World Championship trophy on Sunday.

The world No. 11 was tied-19th at the Australian Open and tied-31st at last week's Honda LPGA Thailand.

She has never finished outside the top 15 in four previous trips to the Republic. She was tied-ninth in last year's edition of the US$1.5 million (S$2 million) tournament.

She said during Wednesday's (Feb 28) press conference at the Sentosa Golf Club: "I was struggling during the middle of (last) season, but I had that second-place finish in Indianapolis and I think that gave me a lot of confidence towards the end of my season.

"I had my best finish at a Major for last year at the Evian Championship, so I felt like I finished my season off on a high note. Birdied my last hole of the year last year. So obviously, in any year, even if you're the Player of the Year, there's always something that you feel like can improve, and I think that's a good thing, well, the challenging thing about golf, is that there is no perfect round.

"I think sometimes we get carried away about, 'Hey, someone has had a winless year or someone has done this'. But if you keep putting yourself in a good position and in contention, it will happen."

She changed her caddie, instructor and equipment (to PXG) last year and finished second three times from 26 starts but did not win for the first time since 2012.

She posted top-five finishes in four of her last eight starts. She won five times and a Major in 2015, and four times in 2016 and has 14 LPGA titles overall.

Ko has begun this campaign with a new coach and caddie. She hs been working with former PGA Tour player Ted Oh since January while Jonny Scott, who most recently worked for Australian veteran Karrie Webb, is now on Ko's bag.

Scott will be Ko's 11th caddie since she turned pro in 2013.

Ko stressed her decisions, which have been criticised as haphazard by some golf pundits, were for the long term.

She added: "To me, I have no regrets in the decisions I made... I think that's really important to do what's best at that moment, even though later on down the road, you might think, 'Oh, I could have made a better decision'.

"I think it was all going towards the right direction. So sometimes you're not going to take those big steps to go to that final goal. It's little steps that make it go there.

"If I had to say something, I would just say, 'Be patient, and believe in yourself'. I think that a really big key is no matter what, as long as you believe in yourself and believe that you can do it, I think anything is possible."

She faces a world-class field at the New Tanjong Course, led by top-ranked Feng Shanshan, in-form Lexi Thompson (No. 2) and all five Major champions from last season.