Ko struggles on green, still up with leaders

FRED WOODCOCK
Last updated 18:59 08/02/2013
Lydia Ko
IAIN McGREGOR/Fairfax NZ

SATISFIED: Lydia Ko and caddie Mike Henderson walk from the 18th green after her round of two-under 70 at Clearwater.

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She struck the ball beautifully and outplayed the world 19 and the European No 1, but Lydia Ko missed a few too many putts to be completely satisfied with her opening round at the New Zealand Women's Open today.

The 15-year-old signed for a two-under par 70 which has her tied for fourth after round one at the Clearwater Golf Club in Christchurch.

Australians Nikki Campbell, Tamara Johns and Sarah Oh all share the lead after posting three-under 69s.

Ko's ballstriking was top drawer - she only missed three fairways and four greens in regulation - but there was no luck with her putter, with several lip-outs and near misses, including a couple from inside four feet.

Still, the world No 1 amateur is right on the pace and taking heart from the fact she could have easily gone lower today.

"I definitely could have played better I think, but the scores aren't that crazy low today, I think that's because of the wind," Ko said.

"I think it's a pretty solid score in this wind. It is a tough course. I'm pretty happy.

"I didn't think I was playing that great then I saw the leaderboard on 14 or something and I thought it's not thatlow."

She was miffed that she had left a few putts on the course.

"To me, if it didn't go in, I'd rather it didn't even go near the hole, but lip-outs... for it being so close, that gets me more annoyed.

"There's still obviously work to do. I didn't putt horribly. A couple more practice putts and hopefully I get there."

Ko had five birdies and three bogeys playing alongside American Angela Stanford, at No 19 in the world the highest ranked golfer in the field this week, who struggled all day and signed for a six-over 78. Spain's European No 1 Carlota Ciganda, the other member of the trio, had a two-over 74.

Ko was downplaying the fact she outgunned two of the top pros here this week.

"I just play my own game, I don't really think about what they're doing."

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