Carlsbad, California: Top-ranked Lydia Ko is confident going into next week`s first major tournament of the LPGA season, the 17-year-old New Zealand star tuning up at this week`s Kia Classic.
Ko has already won the Women`s Australian Open and New Zealand Women`s Open this year and her run of 10 top-10 LPGA finishes in a row is only six shy of Aussie Karrie Webb`s tour record.
So this week`s $1.7 million event provides a final chance for finding peak form before next week`s ANA Inspiration, formerly the Kraft Nabisco, at Rancho Mirage.
"To play well in a major, you pretty much have got to have your A-game," Ko said. "So hopefully, if I have a good week here this week, I`ll bring a lot of confidence going into next week.
"Two different courses. It`s hard to compare them course management wise, but definitely I`m going to concentrate on this week first and hopefully it will be a fun major next week."
After some swing work last week, Ko feels ready for the challenge of a breakthrough major triumph.
"Everything in just the last couple of events, it`s leading towards the majors, so hopefully it`ll be building up, even this week," Ko said.
Ko`s best major results have been a runner-up finish as an amateur at the 2013 Evian Championship in France and a third-place run last year at what is now the Women`s PGA Championship.
South Korean Park In-Bee, the world number two, has closed the gap on Ko in the rankings and will seek her sixth career major crown next week. Park won the LPGA Championship the past two years, the 2008 and 2013 US Women`s Opens and at Rancho Mirage in 2013.
And Park also owns a title this year, having taken her 13th career LPGA crown earlier this month at the HSBC Women`s Champions event in Singapore.
"The earlier the win comes, the better the season goes, I think, because it just gets a lot of pressure off of you, and you`re kind of proving yourself that you can win this year and you can play well this year again," Park said.
Park says he has no great hunger to unseat Ko from the top ranking spot.
"Lydia is a very talented player, and she definitely played really well last couple of years to be number one," Park said. "If I was always number two and never got to number one, I probably would want it really bad to get to number one, but I`ve been to number one before and I feel like I have reached my goal.
"So I`m not like really eager to get to the spot. I`m just not going to try to push myself or push something to get to number one. I`m just going to play good golf and it probably will get me to that spot. It`s not something that you can just push for."