It’s hard to believe that just over one year ago, Lydia Ko was quite literally on top of the world. It was at this time last year that Ko enjoyed what she called a Cinderella story, sweeping the postseason awards in a comeback year that ended with a dreamy wedding ceremony in South Korea.
Now, Ko tees it up this week in the newly renamed Annika driven by Gainbridge at Pelican event looking to sneak into the top 100 on the LPGA priority list. The top 100 positions on the CME list are considered full cardholders. Ko currently sits at 101.
Ko, however, who opened with a 3-under 67 at Pelican on Thursday, isn’t like most players ranked outside the top 100. She has options.
Should Ko finish outside the top 100 on the points list this season, she could play out of the winner’s category in 2024. Category 4 includes winners of the past two seasons as well as the current season. Ko won three times in 2022.
Another option Ko could use down the road is Category No. 2, which includes members in the top 20 on the Career Money List as of the end of the previous season. Players can compete under this category twice in their careers. (Ko currently ranks fifth on the career money list with $16,919,487.)
Although Ko has sounded at times this year like she might be winding down, the two-time Olympic medalist has her sights set on Paris next summer as well as the LPGA Hall of Fame. She’s currently two points shy of the 27 needed to qualify.
Ko currently has 228.571 CME points. Azahara Munoz occupies the 100th spot at 234.273. For Ko to qualify for the CME Group Tour Championship, which she won last season, she would have to finish 60th or higher on the list. Bianca Pagdanganan currently holds the 60th spot at 528.780. Ko would need at least a first (500 points) or second (320 points) at Pelican to have a chance.
Photos: Lydia Ko through the years
The top category on the LPGA priority list, which is used to fill tournament fields, is the top 80 on the CME points from the year prior. That’s as good as it gets. Category 1 is used to fill limited-field events at the start of the year like the HSBC Women’s World…