ZB

Red-hot Lydia Ko fires into the lead after strong opening round

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 28 Jan 2022, 1:46pm
Lydia Ko in action during the first round of the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio Golf Club. (Photo / Getty)
Lydia Ko in action during the first round of the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio Golf Club. (Photo / Getty)

Red-hot Lydia Ko fires into the lead after strong opening round

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 28 Jan 2022, 1:46pm

Lydia Ko has rocketed to the top of the leaderboard at the Gainbridge LPGA event in Florida after a red-hot opening round. 

The Kiwi world No 3 shot a blemish-free nine-under 63 at Boca Rio to sit two strokes clear of American Danielle Kang. 

Ko, who started her round on the back nine, rushed out to a quick start to birdie four of her first six holes. 

She then strung together three straight birdies at the turn and added a couple more to end the day with a two-shot lead over Kang, who is at seven-under as she chases back-to-back Tour wins. 

India's Aditi Ashok sits at third on six-under, with seven players in a share for fourth at five-under. 

After struggling with the putter at the season-opening Tournament of Champions last week, where she finished in a tie for 10th, Ko said her feel on the greens improved, which helped her rush out to a strong start. 

"I hit a string of birdies on my front nine. I tee'd off the back, so it was definitely a solid start. Overall I didn't get into too much trouble, so I was kind of putting myself in play," she said after her round. 

"When I had an opportunity for birdie, for the most part I was able to hole it, which is nice. I didn't have a great time on the putting green last week, so to kind of see putts going in, I think it was definitely like a good imagery, and I tried to feed off that for the rest of the round." 

Ko was also solid off the tee (12 of 14 fairways) and said she was happy with her ball striking, hitting 16 of 18 greens in regulation. 

"This is the first day, so there is still a lot of golf to be played," Ko said. "I'm just trying to play the best golf I can, and if I end up on top like I currently am right now, that's great. 

"But I know I'm playing against the best female golfers, but trying to play the best golf I can and see what happens." 

Elsewhere, Danny Lee will miss the cut at the PGA Tour event in San Diego, with his five-under second round not enough to make up for his dismal opening round efforts. 

On the European Tour, Ryan Fox is tied for 58th at the Dubai Desert Classic after carding an even par on his opening round. He is seven shots behind leader Joachim B Hansen at seven under par.