Ly­dia strug­gles, In-Gee charges

New Straits Times - - Sport -

LOS AN­GE­LES: Top-ranked de­fend­ing cham­pion Ly­dia Ko strug­gled with her put­ting while South Korea’s Chun In-Gee siz­zled late to grab a share of the lead af­ter Thurs­day’s open­ing round of the LPGA Kia Clas­sic.

New Zealand’s Ly­dia needed a birdie-birdie fin­ish to fire a twoover 74 to give the South Kore­an­born 19-year-old a share of 81st just a week be­fore she de­fends a ma­jor crown at the ANA In­spi­ra­tion at Ran­cho Mi­rage.

“I was hit­ting my drives re­ally well. My long game was pretty good,” she said. “I had a few miss­clubs and I couldn’t make up and down on like 99 per cent of the shots that I missed the greens.”

Ly­dia be­gan on the back nine with a bo­gey. She an­swered with a birdie on 15 but stum­bled with three bo­geys in a row start­ing at the par-five 17th. She made another bo­gey at the par-three sixth be­fore her hot fin­ish.

“I was strug­gling on the put­ting greens,” Ly­dia said. “It was re­ally hard to get any­thing rolling when you’re not put­ting that good.”

In-Gee was among the last play­ers to fin­ish at the Carls­bad, Cal­i­for­nia lay­out, with birdies on five of the last seven holes to shoot a six-un­der par 66 and match Amer­i­cans Cristie Kerr and Mo Martin for the 18-hole lead.

“Greens were a lit­tle bumpy this af­ter­noon so I stayed pa­tient (and) so I made a good round,” InGee said.

She will seek her third ma­jor ti­tle next week af­ter the 2015 US Women’s Open and last year’s Evian Cham­pi­onship. The 22year-old was run­ner-up to Ly­dia at last year’s ANA In­spi­ra­tion.

Mo fired a bo­gey-free 66. She opened with a birdie, ran off three birdies in a row start­ing at the par-five fifth and added birdies at the par-five 10th and 17th holes.

“Just had a re­ally good put­ting day,” Mo said. “I’ve been wait­ing for a good put­ting week and I had a good put­ting day to­day. It was great.”

Cristie took her lone bo­gey at the sec­ond hole but birdied the third as well as all four par-five holes, the par-three 14th and the 18th.

“I hit some close and made some longer putts. It was a good mix of stuff out there,” she said.

“I had some long talks with my coach,” she added. “I just needed to sim­plify my swing feel and not over­com­pli­cate things. So kind of

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.