Ko poised to advance to elimination match

Last updated 21:01 15/01/2013

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Golf

Lydia Ko closes in on LPGA record after another solid round at the Kia Classic in California Former World No 1 golfer Tiger Woods set to fall outside world's top 100 in rankings Jimmy Walker shoots three-under par 69 to take four-shot lead at windy Texas Open Tiger Woods skips Houston Open, Masters doubts spiral Lydia Ko three shots off top spot at Kia Classic Storming finish helps Alvarez to claim strokeplay crown Koh takes narrow lead into final round Jimmy Walker surges one ahead in San Antonio Jimmy Walker surges one ahead in San Antonio In-form Lydia Ko third after opening round of Kia Classic in California

World No.1 and defending champion Lydia Ko is handily placed after the opening qualifying round of the Australian Amateur Championships with a repeat performance tomorrow assured of seeing her advance to the elimination match play format.

The 15-year-old Kiwi carded a 4-under 69 at the Woodlands Golf Club in Melbourne today to sit in a tie for second with Tatiana Wijaya, one stroke behind West Australian Minjee Lee, a long-time rival.

Ko opened a busy 2013 programme with six birdies and two bogeys - both on the front nine - to predictably spearhead New Zealand's challenge for the team event.

She was well supported by Munchin Keh, who provided a polished 3-70 to start tomorrow's final qualifying round in a share of fourth, although Julianne Alvarez struggled before signing for a 5-over 78.

US-based Kiwi Sarah Bradley fared even worse with an 8-over 81 to virtually end her hopes of avoiding the cull when the field is trimmed to 32. Hanna Seifert is also on track for an early exit thanks to an 83.

Vaughan McCall, New Zealand's leading hope in the men's event, also endured a forgettable introduction with an 8-over 80 riddled with seven bogeys and a calamitous eight on the par-4 16th.

Tyler Hodge and Lachie McDonald were the only New Zealanders to beat par with 1-under 71s while Blair Riordan recorded an even-par 72, as did Sam An on the nearby Commonwealth Golf Club.

The top 64 men advance to match play so Keelan Kilpatrick (73) Peter Lee, Josh Munn (74) plus Bradley Kendall and Jonathan Ratcliffe (75) are still in contention to reach the next phase providing they can improve on their initial efforts.

Victoria's Todd Sinnott and Brady Watt (WA) set the early place with excellent 6-under 66s to be two shots clear.

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

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