Lydia Ko breaks record in Australian Open start

Last updated 18:55 14/02/2013
Lydia Ko
Getty Images
LOOKING FOR A WAY OUT: Lydia Ko discusses a path out of the trees on the par-five 15th with caddy Mike Henderson during the first round of the Australian Open.

Relevant offers


Live: Black Caps v India - ODI three Sydney FC beat Wellington Phoenix after controversial offside ruling All Blacks openside Matt Todd wins them over with his big Eden Park effort Ryan Fox slips fourth in latest Challenge Tour event, edging closer to European Tour card Wallabies coach Michael Cheika refuses to back down from Bledisloe Cup war of words Manchester City's winless streak continues with Southampton draw Springboks coach Allister Coetzee full of praise for England ahead of test Western Sydney Wanderers slump to draw with Newcastle Jets Jamie Whincup to fight NZ's van Gisbergen for Supercars title all the way Whincup grabs pole position for Gold Coast 600, ahead of van Gisbergen

Lydia Ko's record-breaking start to the Australian Open in Canberra today had playing partner and world No.1 Yani Tseng reaching for the superlatives as the Kiwi teen surged to the outright lead. 

The 15-year-old produced another jaw-dropping performance at Royal Canberra as the world's leading amateur carded a magnificent 10-under 63 - the lowest round of her career -- to hold a one stroke advantage over Colombian Mariajo Uribe. 

Buoyed by her history-making New Zealand Open triumph at Clearwater last Sunday, Ko is now on course for a fourth professional title - or at least a significant improvement on her 19th placing when the tournament was held in Melbourne last year. 

Ko amassed 11 birdies to make an imposing start to the season-opening $A1.2 million LPGA co-sanctioned tournament, an assault that left Tseng awestruck. 

"I feel I'm getting old," said the 24-year-old from Taiwan, a two-time Australian Open champion.

"She just looks like a child, she still looks like 15 but, the way she's playing golf, she looks like a pro." 

The diminutive right hander opened on the back nine with a bogey five - though that setback was far from an ominous sign.

Ko displayed no signs of anxiety despite being featuring in a marquee group alongside Tseng and former teenage prodigy Michelle Wie.

She parred the next and then embarked on a sequence of four straight birdies - a run stunted by the highlight of her round, an eagle on the par-5 15th.

The self-effacing Ko was all smiles when a wedge from 89-metres bit and spun back to plop in the hole, and although she immediately surrendered a stroke with a bogey on the next the subsequent 11 holes contained just one more blemish.

Ko, who became the youngest ever winner of an LPGA Tour event when claiming the Canadian Open last year, needed just 30 strokes to complete the back nine as she dominated her high profile playing partners with a round that represented a two shot improvement on her previous best.

"I was in a really good group to start off with. I was pretty nervous when I saw the draw and that I was playing with two big names but it was fun out there.

"Yani and Michelle, we had really good conversations so I think it made it more enjoyable."

Ad Feedback

Incredibly it took until the 10th for Ko to register a par; she then birdied four of the next five holes to drop to 10-under with three to play.

Ko dropped a shot when misjudging the par-3 eighth but regained her composure to close out by beating par one last time.

Tseng was left in Ko's wake at 5-under while Wi - an idol of Ko when she was growing into the game - signed for a mediocre 1-over 74.

Uribe provided the closest challenge to Ko thanks to a bogey-free round complemented by seven birdies and an eagle on the par-5 sixth.

Tseng kept pace with Ko before the turn by fashioning five birdies but then slipped into solid par-gathering mode and completed seven front nine holes in regulation to provisionally sit in a share of seventh.

Wie's round was effectively over after the American trudged off the par-5 18th weighed down by a quadruple bogey nine.

South Korea's Mi Hyang Lee and Ayako Uehara (Japan) were three strokes adrift on Ko in a tie for third as the round continued.

The Open, co-sanctioned between the Australian, European and United States LPGA Tours, features nine of the world's top 20-ranked professionals.

- Fairfax Media

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content