Lydia Ko in bid for NZ title

CHAMPION: Mi Hyang Lee from South Korea celebrates with Kyu-Jung Baek, left and Seonwoo Bae from Korea.
CHAMPION: Mi Hyang Lee from South Korea celebrates with Kyu-Jung Baek, left and Seonwoo Bae from Korea.
WINNING FORM: Mi Hyang Lee from South Korea.
WINNING FORM: Mi Hyang Lee from South Korea.
SPECTATOR SPORT: A huge crowd has gathered at Clearwater, six deep in some places.
SPECTATOR SPORT: A huge crowd has gathered at Clearwater, six deep in some places.
NOT HAPPY: Not every shot goes perfectly for Lydia Ko.
NOT HAPPY: Not every shot goes perfectly for Lydia Ko.
CONCENTRATION: Lydia Ko on day three at Clearwater.
CONCENTRATION: Lydia Ko on day three at Clearwater.
AIMING FOR THE TOP:  American Anya Alvarez
AIMING FOR THE TOP: American Anya Alvarez
FROM THE SHADOWS: Crowd watches American Anya Alvarez
FROM THE SHADOWS: Crowd watches American Anya Alvarez
DAY THREE: Christel Boeljon of the Netherlands
DAY THREE: Christel Boeljon of the Netherlands
FADING LIGHT: Kiwi Tyler Kingi plays a chip shot on 9.
FADING LIGHT: Kiwi Tyler Kingi plays a chip shot on 9.
RESULT: Anya Alvarez, USA, celebrates finishing her round in the lead.
RESULT: Anya Alvarez, USA, celebrates finishing her round in the lead.
WINNING ACTION: American Anya Alvarez on day two.
WINNING ACTION: American Anya Alvarez on day two.
CAREFUL: Lydia Ko on day two at Clearwater.
CAREFUL: Lydia Ko on day two at Clearwater.
CROWD-PLEASER: Thousands came to watch Lydia Ko play.
CROWD-PLEASER: Thousands came to watch Lydia Ko play.
HAVING A CHAT: Stacey Keating, left, from Australia with Lydia Ko.
HAVING A CHAT: Stacey Keating, left, from Australia with Lydia Ko.
COLOURFUL: Lydia Ko's with her golf cart.
COLOURFUL: Lydia Ko's with her golf cart.
DAY TWO: Lydia Ko makes her start at Clearwater.
DAY TWO: Lydia Ko makes her start at Clearwater.
SWING ACTION: Kyu Jung Baek of Korea
SWING ACTION: Kyu Jung Baek of Korea
A CLOSER LOOK: Beth Allen from the USA
A CLOSER LOOK: Beth Allen from the USA
REFUELLING: An official snacks on a pie while he awaits the players.
REFUELLING: An official snacks on a pie while he awaits the players.
INTERNATIONAL: Jessica Speechley of Australia
INTERNATIONAL: Jessica Speechley of Australia
COMPETING: Caroline Martens of Norway.
COMPETING: Caroline Martens of Norway.
NICE ONE: Lydia Ko celebrates chipping in for birdie on the last hole.
NICE ONE: Lydia Ko celebrates chipping in for birdie on the last hole.
Charley Hull of England sends the ball flying.
Charley Hull of England sends the ball flying.
RIVAL: Seon Woo Bae of Korea
RIVAL: Seon Woo Bae of Korea
LEADERBOARD: Scorers keep a close eye on the action
LEADERBOARD: Scorers keep a close eye on the action
SCENIC SPOT: Hyeji Lee, of Korea, at Clearwater
SCENIC SPOT: Hyeji Lee, of Korea, at Clearwater
COMPETITOR: Hyeji Lee of Korea
COMPETITOR: Hyeji Lee of Korea
IN ACTION: Lydia Ko on Day One at the NZ Women's Open.
IN ACTION: Lydia Ko on Day One at the NZ Women's Open.
CROWD APPEAL: Dozens of golf fans are at Clearwater for the NZ Women's Open.
CROWD APPEAL: Dozens of golf fans are at Clearwater for the NZ Women's Open.
CLOSER LOOK: Lydia Ko tests her swing.
CLOSER LOOK: Lydia Ko tests her swing.

Lydia Ko has a chance to defend her New Zealand Women's Open title tomorrow but she almost didn't make it to the first tee today.

The New Zealand golf star has revealed she considered pulling out before today's second round after suffering with a stomach bug last night and this morning.

She hasn't eaten for more than 24 hours, making today's three-under par round of 69 a stunning effort in the circumstances.

"I was like really sick overnight," Ko said.

"At one point I was even going to withdraw but luckily I didn't and it was just, I think, a stomach bug. So I just went to the hospital this morning.

"I think just maintaining the energy levels is going to be quite hard because I don't want to eat too much at the moment."

Ko three-putted the 18th at the Clearwater Golf Course in Christchurch today, but is still within striking distance of the lead.

She is second at six-under, two shots behind American Anya Alvarez, who had the best round of the day - a six-under 66 - to get to eight-under through two rounds.

American Beth Allen is third equal at five-under, tied with Koreans Kyu Jung Baek and Seon Woo Bae.

Ko, the world No 4, and relative unknown Alvarez will play together in the final group tomorrow, from 11.30am. Ko is the defending champion and is in search of her second win since turning professional late last year.

Ko said she was "definitely" feeling better than last night and she hoped to eat some dinner tonight.

"I'm just going to chill out, go home and I guess, review from my round yesterday and today. I just want to start tomorrow really fresh."

After four straight pars to start her second round today, Ko picked up shots on five, six and eight, the latter thanks to a chip in from behind the green.

She turned in two-under 34 following a bogey at the tough par-three ninth but birdies at the 13th and 14th got her to seven-under and one shot off the pace.

 

After narrowly missing birdies on the 15th, 16th and 17th holes, Ko dropped her second shot of the day, on the 18th, in front of a huge gallery.

Having left a number of birdie putts wide over the opening 36-holes of the tournament, her par-saving had been first rate. But she was unable to two-putt the last and her bogey - her first three-putt of the tournament - gave Alvarez a two-shot buffer.

"I played pretty good," Ko said. "I made a couple of mistakes but club selection-wise I thought it was much better than I did yesterday and I think playing in the afternoon today was an advantage because it was slightly calmer wind-wise and it was much nicer weather. So yeah I'm pretty happy with the way I played."

"I gave myself birdie opportunities and when I did I got most of them so I'm pretty happy."

RECAP OF TODAY'S COVERAGE

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