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Two main things Jin Young Ko has learned working with a sport psychologist over the past year

July 27, 2019
jin young ko Evian Championship - Day 1

Stuart Franklin

Jin Young Ko is tied for third, four shots off the lead at the Evian Championship after three rounds. The most impressive part of her third-round 66 was the five-hole stretch starting at the 12th. She went birdie-bogey-birdie-bogey-birdie. Each time she made a mistake, she was able to overcome it and correct it on the next hole. It's something she's been working on for the past year.

"Bogey is fine," Ko said of the tumultuous stretch. "I'm not a robot. I'm human."

Ko said she started working with a sport psychologist in Korea a year ago after struggling with being a perfectionist when she practiced. She says her coach has helped her deal with the reality that mistakes will happen. Accepting that bogeys happen help free her up to be able to make birdies on the next hole.

Ko, 22, and her mental coach are also working on prioritizing happiness, on the course and off.

"Happiness is really important to my life, so I ... always try happiness," Ko said. "Like personal life, on the course, or outside golf."

Throughout her press conference after her third round, Ko referenced staying happy and smiling on the course several times. It's a reminder that playing golf is, fundamentally, a source of joy—something that can be easy to forget in a tournament setting.

The former World No. 1 from South Korea won her first major title this year, the 2019 ANA Inspiration.