Current world No. 1 female golfer and ECCO Golf Ambassador Lydia Ko is a force to be reckoned with. Her professional career began a decade ago at the age of 15 – she’s since quickly soared to the upper echelons of the golf world, clinching many major victories throughout the Ladies Professional Golf Association tours and becoming the youngest woman in history to rank first in the sport at just 17 years old. 

Now in her mid-twenties, the New Zealander continues to be a role model for many aspiring players as she swings hard on the LPGA tour, which made a stopover in Singapore for the HSBC Women’s World Championship last weekend. Ahead, in celebration of International Women’s Day, BAZAAR speaks to Ko about female empowerment and what it feels like to be a woman at the top of her game.

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Who’s the one sportswoman you look up to? 

Seri Pak.

What are some specific challenges which women face in sports and how did you overcome them? 

Dealing with menstrual cycle and hormonal changes emotionally and physically. I’m still learning to figure out how to perform my best even during those period of times.

What does empowerment mean to you?

Being true to your own self, and embracing who you are.

How do you think sports, and your sport specifically, empower women today?

Golf started out as a gentleman’s sport, but it’s become much more than that now. I feel very grateful to be able to compete against not only the best female golfers in the world, but some of the best female athletes – and I hope to be able to inspire many girls and women so that they too can shine and excel in whatever they want to do and be.

What is one piece of advice you wished you knew when you were younger that you only know now? 

More often, you think you are going to face challenges and days which don’t go your way. But every experience, both good and bad, is a huge learning opportunity, so embrace the journey.