Mixed opening round for Lydia Ko in Hawaii
New Zealand golfer Lydia Ko was upstaged by her playing partners and fellow teen stars in the first round of the LPGA Tour's Lotte Championship in Hawaii today.
Ko settled for a mixed one-under par round of 71 at the Ko Olina Golf Club, which put her in a share of 52nd after the opening round of the 72-hole professional event.
It was solid but certainly not spectacular, especially when compared to her two playing partners, who combined for 14-under par.
Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn, 17, went on a scoring spree, nailing seven birdies and an eagle in an eight-under par 64 that sees the rookie professional and former world No 2 amateur hold the outright lead by one shot over Norway's Suzann Pettersen and South Korean Hee Kyung Seo.
Jutanugarn is looking to secure her second win of the year, having already won on the Ladies European Tour in her first few months as a professional.
The other teen in the trio, South Korean Hyo Joo Kim, fired a bogey-free six-under 66 to share fourth place, the 17-year-old displaying the talent that saw her win three professional events as an amateur last year, before turning pro and winning the China Open.
Ko, 15, who is in her eighth LPGA Tour event, and 17th professional tournament, looked set to enjoy a birdie barrage of her own when she got to three-under par through six holes.
But she bogeyed the seventh and ninth holes, failing to get up and down after wayward approaches to turn in one-under.
The world No 25 immediately got one shot back at the 10th but after a succession of pars, she bogeyed the 18th for a 71.
It was a below average day at the office for Ko, who only found six of 14 fairways, 12 of 18 greens, and made one of three sand saves.
Ko is the only amateur in the field for the $US1.7 million tournament, which features nine of the top 10 and 19 of the top 25 ranked players in the world.