Lydia Ko just makes the cut at Australian Open
Lydia Ko has avoided disaster in her first LPGA tournament of 2017, narrowly making the cut at the Australian Open.
Following a solid opening day at Royal Adelaide, the world No 1 tumbled down the leaderboard on Friday as she carded a two-over par 75 to be at even-par for the tournament.
That was just one shot inside the cut line, with Ko in a tie for 64th nine shots behind leader Sarah Jane Smith.
After a rollercoaster front nine, which included a bogey on the first hole, two more dropped shots and three birdies, Ko appeared to have steadied the ship.
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However, the 19-year-old unravelled down the stretch, bogeying three of her last five holes with a birdie on the 17th giving her some much-needed breathing space.
Ko began the new LPGA season on Thursday with a first-round two-under par 71, which left her among a big group of players tied for 24th.
The Kiwi teen, playing her first LPGA tournament since last November, has a new coach, Gary Gilchrist, a new caddie Gary Matthews, and a new set of PXG clubs after she parted ways with Callaway.
Smith, meanwhile, produced Friday's low round, a stellar six-under-par 67, to move to nine-under and pinch the lead from fellow Australian Katherine Kirk.
Ranked 107th in the world, Smith peeled off three consecutive birdies, and six overall, and is daring to dream of winning her first national championship.
"I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about it," the 32-year-old said.
"Obviously, it would be a dream come true and something that every young Australian thinks about at some point.
"So to even be in this position right now is pretty exciting."
Smith has four players breathing down her neck heading into the third round with American duo Lizette Salas and Marissa Steen, Pornanong Phatlum of Thailand and Sweden's Caroline Hedwall all one shot back.
- with AAP