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It has been more than two years since Lydia Ko won the most recent of her 15 LPGA titles.

However, she goes into the weekend at the AIG Women’s Open with an excellent opportunity to end that drought – and, ominously for the players around her on the leaderboard, the New Zealander feels as though she’s close to rediscovering her very best form.

Ko, 23, is one-over and just two shots adrift of leader Dani Holmqvist after 36 holes at Royal Troon. 

All told, there are 20 players within five shots of the lead at the halfway stage. However, with the words of coach Sean Foley ringing in her ears every bit as much as the wind that has whipped through the famous links, Ko is confident that she can be the one who leaves Ayrshire clutching the trophy on Sunday night.

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“I feel like every competitive round I get in, there’s a bit more confidence that builds in,” said the Kiwi. “It’s like the saying where, just like an 18-handicapper, that one shot brings me back up for tomorrow. I really think it’s the same for me, too; that one good shot that you feel, that that’s the shot I want to emulate on the next hole or tomorrow.

“The more times I put myself in contention or in a good position, it gives me confidence about my game. Sean has been trying to get me to swing aggressively and freely and I feel like I hit it better that way. Sometimes it’s easier said than done, but you know, I’ve just got to go out there and not worry about it and just believe in myself.”

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Meanwhile, despite a difficult back nine, Scotland’s Catriona Matthew remains well placed as she looks to win the title for the second time. 

The Solheim Cup skipper is in a tie for 21st on five-over carded in arguably the worst of the conditions on day two.

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“It was a lot tougher out there actually, a lot tougher today,” said the 50-year-old. “It was just a crosswind today, so downwind played as tough coming as going out. I didn’t hit it great to be fair. Made some quite miraculous up-and-downs.

“But I’m really quite happy with how I’m playing. To be playing the weekend is good.”


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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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