Ko has share of lead at NZ Women's Open

FRED WOODCOCK
Last updated 18:35 09/02/2013

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Teenage New Zealand golf star Lydia Ko remains right in contention to win the New Zealand Women's Open at Clearwater in Christchurch.

Ko will take a share of the lead into tomorrow's third and final round in the 54-hole event after carding a four-under par 68 in today's second round.

Starting the day one shot off the lead after a two-under 70 in the opening round, Ko fired in an eagle, three birdies and a lone bogey to move to six-under for the tournament.

At one stage she had a two-shot lead but South Korean Seon Woo Bae caught her late in the day after firing a course record eight-under par 64.

Bae carded nine birdies and one bogey in a round which bettered Katherine Hull's 65 in the first round of the 2009 open at Clearwater.

Italian Guilia Sergas is a shot back in solo third at five-under after a four-under 68 today while Australian Nikki Campbell is fourth at four-under after a 71 today.

There is a group of four players who share of fifth at three-under.

But all eyes were on Ko today and she didn't disappoint.

Teeing off the 10th, the 15-year-old left two birdie putts in the jaws of the hole and a four-footer for birdie slipped by in her first four holes, but her round kick-started spectacularly with an eagle at the par-five 14th.

Two meaty blows left her a 36-foot downhill slider from just off the green which hit the flag and dropped, bringing an almighty roar from the huge gallery.

There was another eruption at the par-three 16th when a 10-footer dropped for birdie, the world's top-ranked amateur making the turn in three-under 33 for a two-shot lead.

That extended to three shots at the par-five second as she two-putted from long range for birdie.

With Bae breathing down her neck following a birdie barrage on the opposite nine, Ko duffed a chip at the par-five fifth but nailed a 15-footer for birdie to save par and protect a one-shot lead.

That doubled at the par-four sixth hole with her third birdie of the day, but her first and only bogey of the round came at the par-four seventh following a three-putt.

Ko was the only New Zealander in the 144-strong field to make the cut of 50 and ties for tomorrow's final round.

European Tour pro Cathryn Bristow missed out by one shot after bouncing back from her opening 79 with a three-under 69 to finish at four-over.

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