Thu, 26 May 2022

Lydia Ko shoots 63 to hold first-round lead at Gainbridge LPGA

Field Level Media
28 Jan 2022, 11:55 GMT+10

Lydia Ko carded nine birdies during a bogey-free first round on Thursday and holds the lead at 9-under 63 after one turn of the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Raton, Fla.

The New Zealander holds a two-shot lead over American Danielle Kang, who had eight birdies and one bogey at Boca Rio Golf Club.

India's Aditi Ashok is third, three shots behind Ko.

Ko started on the 10th tee and recorded birdies on four of her first six holes. The world's third-ranked women's golfer later birdied three straight holes -- Nos. 1, 2 and 3 -- during the stellar trip around the course.

"I didn't get into too much trouble, so I was kind of putting myself in play," Ko said of her round. "When I had an opportunity for birdie, for the most part I was able to hole it, which is nice. I didn't have a great time on the putting green last week, so to kind of see putts going in, I think it was definitely like a good imagery, and I tried to feed off that for the rest of the round."

Kang is searching for her second straight victory after prevailing at the Tournament of Champions last week.

Kang shot birdie on two of her first three holes before her lone blemish -- a bogey on the par-4, No. 4. She rebounded for two more birdies on the front nine and four on the back.

"I don't really try and focus on momentum and whether you have to create it or you have to ride it or it's not there." said Kang, who is ranked eighth in the world. "It doesn't really matter, right? I played well last week. It's a new week. I still have things to work on. I still have things I need to focus on.

"Every golf shot is difficult. Golf is hard. So my whole thing is to be mentally present and constantly work on the things that I need to work on without being so focused on the result, while knowing what I need to do and want to do, but being able to prioritize what my values are right now (that) I think is the most important."

Ashok had seven birdies and one bogey during a stellar round. She had five birdies on the back nine before stumbling with a bogey on the par-4, No. 18.

"(Reaching) 17 greens in a row was really good for me," Ashok said. "Obviously I couldn't reach 18 actually, but I'm still happy with the way I hit it today. I putted really good but could have hit it a lot better, maybe given myself a few more birdie chances. But 66 is a great day for me."

Seven players are tied for fourth at 5-under 67, including 2021 U.S. Women's Open champion Yuka Saso, the Philippines-born golfer now representing Japan.

The others are South Korea's Jeongeun Lee6 and Hye-Jin Choi, England's Charley Hull, Canada's Maude-Aimee Leblanc, Japan's Nasa Hataoka and American Gerina Mendoza.

A pack of 14 golfers are at 4 under, including World No. 1 Nelly Korda of the United States, Canada's Brooke Henderson and Mexico's Gaby Lopez.

American Lexi Thompson is tied for 30th at 2-under 70.

--Field Level Media

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