Lydia Ko evens out at the Open Championship

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 08:17 11/07/2014
Lydia Ko
Getty Images
EVEN-STEVENS: Lydia Ko checks over yardage notes with her caddie during the first round of the women's Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.

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A strong first round in tough conditions has New Zealand golfer Lydia Ko well placed after day one of the Women's British Open.

Ko opened with an even-par 72 at the Royal Birkdale course in Southport, England this morning and is in a tie for 10th. 

The other New Zealander in the field, Cathryn Bristow, did not have such a good day and is tied for 142nd in the field of 144. 

Ko flirted with the top of the leaderboard early in her round and through six holes was two-under par. 

She dropped shots on the seventh and 10th to get back to even, had another birdie on 16 before finishing her round with a disappointing dropped shot on the final hole, the par-five 18th.

With Royal Birkdale's tight fairways and plenty of hazards in the landing areas, how Ko went with her driver was always going to play a big part.

''This is not an easy course. Tee shots will be key as the fairways are very tight and bunkers come into play pretty much on every hole,'' she told Fairfax Media. 

She found nine of 14 fairways today and of the two greenside bunkers she found, she was able to get up and down out of one of them.

The 17-year-old world No 2 is just four shots off the lead held by Japan's world No 125 Ayako Uehara.

Ko has plenty of company at even par too. There are 14 players in a tie for 10th including some of the sport's biggest names, Karrie Webb, Anna Nordqvist, Suzann Pettersen and Inbee Park. World No 1 Stacy Lewis was one-under in a tie for sixth.

While Ko headed up the leaderboard, Bristow went backwards quickly. 

The left-hander had four double bogeys in her round - her first on just her second hole - and five bogeys. She shot a 13-over 85 and is already some seven shots above the early projected cut. 

The interesting round of the day went to English player Holly Aitchison. 

The world No 359 player played Royal Birkdale's par-fives in three-under par courtesy of an eagle three at the par-five fourth and another birdie.

But she still managed to find herself at 12-over par for the tournament and in 141st after playing the four par-threes in 10-over including a nine on the 12th.

Scores of note:

1 - Ayako Uehara 68,

3 - Morgan Pressel 70,

6 - Stacy Lewis 71,

10 - LYDIA KO, Lexie Thompson, Anna Nordqvist, Karrie Webb, Inbeen Park, Suzann Pettersen, Ai Miyazato 72,

48 - Michelle Wie, Paula Creamer, Laura Davies, Mi Hyang Lee 75,

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99 - Cheyenne Woods 78,

142- CATHRYN BRISTOW 85

- Stuff

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If she is able to, when do you expect Lydia Ko to win her first major?

Next year, she's so close

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