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Last shot at major record for Lydia Ko

Lydia Ko admits it will be hard work if she is to break her major drought and win the Evian Championship in France.


The New Zealand world No.2 has her last chance to become the youngest woman to clinch a major title when she tees off on Thursday.

The 18-year-old can usurp American Morgan Pressel, who tasted victory at age 18 years and 313 days in 2007, if successful at the $US3.25 million ($NZ5.2 million) tournament.

It’s Ko’s 17th crack at winning a major and her confidence will be boosted by recent form and a sound record in Evian-Les-Baines, where she finished second in 2013 as an amateur and eighth last year.

She is coming off victory at the Canadian Pacific Open three weeks ago, which followed a third-place finish at her most recent major, the Women’s British Open.

Ko says the stakes are raised when the five major tournaments roll around each year, something she has come to terms with during her short but explosive career in the LPGA top flight.

“We’re all trying to peak at the majors,” she said.

“And major courses, they’re tough. I mean, all courses we play, they have some tough holes but especially in the majors, the scores aren’t crazy low. It shows that you need a lot of concentration, a lot of focus out there.”

One player adept at handling the demands of majors is Korean world No.1 Inbee Park, who is chasing a career grand slam this week.

The Evian Championship is the only gap on the 27-year-old’s list of major triumphs. She won the tournament in 2012, the year before it was added to the major schedule.

Having won seven major titles, including six of the last 14 on offer, Park says the big tournaments motivate her.

“I don’t know, maybe I am just comfortable when I play the major championships,” she said.

“It really feels like a real golf tournament. I think just the success that I’ve had in the past, that gives me a lot of confidence.”

Adding spice to the opening two rounds is that Ko, Park and American world No.3 Stacy Lewis are grouped together for the first time since a tournament in Singapore six months ago.

Ko was relaxed about teeing off alongside her biggest rivals.

“It should be a lot of fun. I think there will be a lot of spectators coming out to watch, and yeah, I’m sure between the three of us we’ll have quite a few birdies out there.”

World No.15 Minjee Lee and veteran Karrie Webb will lead the Australian charge along with Rebecca Artis, Su-Hyun Oh, Sarah Jane Smith and Sarah Kemp.

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