ZB

Ko makes steady start to final major of year

Author
Cameron McMillan, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 5 Aug 2022, 9:06am
Lydia Ko of New Zealand tees off on the 15th hole during Day One of the AIG Women's Open at Muirfield. Photo / Getty
Lydia Ko of New Zealand tees off on the 15th hole during Day One of the AIG Women's Open at Muirfield. Photo / Getty

Ko makes steady start to final major of year

Author
Cameron McMillan, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 5 Aug 2022, 9:06am

A bogey at the last has seen Lydia Ko card an even par round to begin the Women's Open Championship at Muirfield in Scotland.

The Kiwi sits six shots back from leader Hinako Shibuno of Japan, who started the tournament with a blistering six-under 65. The 2019 Women's Open Championship winner has a one-shot lead over Jessica Korda, who has yet to win a major in 58 attempts. Her best finish was second place at the Chevron Championship earlier this year.

As it stands, 42 of the 144-player field are even par or better on the course that until 2017 didn't allow female members. There are currently players still out on the course.

Ko has one top-10 finish at the Open Championship (when she tied for third in 2015) since her first appearance as an amateur in 2012. Playing with Ireland's Leona Maguire and Nasa Hataoka of Japan, all three shot even-par rounds as Ko book-ended her round with bogeys at the first and 18th holes.

Ko had three birdies and three bogeys as she strayed between one-over and one-under in windy conditions.

"It was, I think, pretty solid. A few not so solid, it's pretty tricky out there," she said on the wind after her round.

"I feel like a lot of those holes are crossing, crossing or down, and I think it makes it extra tough for club selection and all that. You know, when the wind this strong, it doesn't only affect your long game but short game as well.

"Overall it was solid. I feel like it could have been better but I think when it did get out of hand, I was able to manage it really well. I feel like it's a decent start."

World number one Jin Young Ko looks out of the running after a five-over 76 on day one.

The top of the leaderboard has players from nine different nations including Japan's Shibuno (-6), Korda of the US (-5), Gaby Lopez of Mexico (-4), Scotland's Louise Duncan (-4), Jodie Ewart Shadoff of England (-3), Minjee Lee of Australia (-3), France's Celine Boutier (-3), In Chee Chun of South Korea (-3) and Sweden's Maja Stark (-3).

Duncan could be one to watch on a home Scottish course. She was the breakout star of the week at the 2021 Women's Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Links, where she was the leading amateur and finished tied for 10th.