Ko makes ideal start at Canadian Open

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 11:05 23/08/2013
Lydia Ko
Getty Images
SUPERB KO: Lydia Ko has shrugged off all the pressure of defending her Canadian Open title.

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Lydia Ko has shrugged off all the pressure of defending her Canadian Open golf title with a superb opening round 65 to be provisionally tied for the lead. 

Her five-under opening round gave the 16-year-old the clubhouse lead by herself before world No 16, American Angela Stanford, drew level on Edmonton's Royal Mayfair Golf Club.

Less than half the field had finished their rounds when Ko, the world's leading amateur, walked off the 18th. 

Ko made the perfect start, picking up a shot on the opening hole with a birdie three. 

She made further birdies on three, five and seven to turn with a four-under 31.

A fifth birdie on 10 got her to five under and she made another on the par-five 14th before making her only bogey of the day on the 15th. 

Ko became the youngest winner on the LPGA when she won the tournament last year and this week told Fairfax Media she was only too well aware of the pressure on her.

The Canadian Open used to be a women's major and the NZ$2.05m still attracts the top players in the world. Ko is one of 10 former champions in the field of 156, which also boasts the world's top-10 players, 46 of the top 50, and 96 of this year's top-100 current money earners.

There would be no sneaking under the radar this time around, she said.

''There is always pressure on me and, I guess, more pressure and people talking about me this week because I am the defending champion,'' Ko said.

She clearly did not let it affect her game this morning, hitting 12 of 14 fairways and while she did miss four greens in regulation, being able to sign for a round with just one bogey will hold her in good stead for the rest of the week. 

Ko this week also won her third straight Mark H McCormack Medal for being the world's leading women's amateur.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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