A stunning eagle gave Lydia Ko heart as she embarked on the home stretch of her second round at the Thailand Open but New Zealand's golfing sensation could only remain in a holding pattern at the Siam Country Club.
The 15-year-old's 3 on the par-5 10th was the perfect - and necessary - response after she finished the front nine with back-to-back bogeys, the second time the classy teen has dropped shots in consecutive holes during the $US1.5 million tournament.
Unfortunately for Ko the highlight of her round did not instigate a charge on the back nine and she eventually signed for a commendable 1-under 71 to provisionally leave her a tie for ninth at 4-under - eight strokes behind American world No 3 Stacy Lewis.
The world's leading amateur surrendered a stroke by bogeying the 12th and was then a picture of consistency, reeling off six successive pars to avoid a repeat of her late round glitches yesterday.
Ko made an identical start to her opening round 3-under 69 -par on the first two holes preceded birdies on the 3rd and 4th as one of the sport's future superstars tried to bridge the gap on overnight leader Lewis, who was just getting underway after her course record-equalling 63.
Instead Ko, who started the day in a logjam in 10th, could make no inroads on the layout at Chonburi although she is virtually assured of claiming another perfunctory accolade as leading amateur.
Missing par on the 8th and 9th holes slowed the right-hander's momentum after she had improved to fourth on the leaderboard and she had to settle with reaching the turn on 36, even for the day.
Ko is making her first tilt at the $US1.5 million LPGA event thanks to an invite and is backing up from her third placing in last weekend's Australian Open at Royal Canberra.
Lewis reproduced her sublime form on day one from the outset with birdies on the first and sixth holes to drop to 11-under, to put down a marker during the formative stages of her round.
Like Ko, the tournament favourite also had issues with a bogey on the ninth, but she birdied the next two and immediately made amends after dropping a stroke at the 14th by beating par on the next.
Lewis carded a 69 to lead Ariya Jutanugarn by three strokes after the Thai player fashioned the round of the day, a superb 6-under 66.
Former Australian Open champion Jessica Korda also made significant progress after opening with a 73, the American teenager's 5-under 67 saw her sit alongside Ko, Australian veteran Karrie Webb and Japanese star Ai Miyazato.
- © Fairfax NZ News