Lydia Ko solid but unspectacular on pro debut

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 25/11/2013

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While others surged and fell, golfer Lydia Ko treaded water on moving day of the LPGA's Titleholders tournament in Florida.

The 16-year-old, playing her first tournament as a professional, shot an even-par 72 to be two under for the season-ending tournament and, having started yesterday's third day in a tie for 23rd, ended it in a tie for 25th.

She was one of only five players inside the top 25 not to break par.

Ko, normally so consistent, was up and down. She made three bogeys and a double bogey in her round, but showed her impressive temperament by also making five birdies.

Ko made a bogey on the par-four third, but no sooner had she picked that shot back up with a birdie at six, she dropped two more with a double-bogey at seven.

Others, most notably Stacy Lewis (63), were shooting low and Ko was moving backwards in the field until she hit the back nine.

Ko picked up shots on 10, 12, 14 and 15 to move into the top 20.

But just as she looked set for a run at a top 10 finish in today's final round, she dropped shots at 16 and the par-five 17th which she'd birdied in the opening two rounds.

The world No 5 drove as well as she has all week, hitting 13 of 14 fairways, but Ko wasn't as accurate with irons in hand, missing seven greens in regulation.

Still, she was in line for a handy first pay cheque as a professional. Over 54 holes she has shown she can handle the transition from the amateur to pro ranks.

Ko's playing partner and friend Michelle Wie raced up the leaderboard, shooting a birdie-laden six-under 66 to move to eight under and in a tie for fifth with a round to go.

Ko is nine shots behind a trio of golfers at 11 under - Americans Natalie Gilbis and Gerina Piller and Thailand's Pornanong Phatlum.

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- Fairfax Media

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