Changes work for Ko

Nelson Mail - - SPORT - GOLF

Ly­dia Ko has bounced back from a tur­bu­lent start to the year off-course to share a slice of the lead at the Women’s Aus­tralian Open.

The for­mer world No. 1 shot 68 in the open­ing round at the Kooy­onga Golf Club in South Aus­tralia to be tied for the lead with seven other play­ers on -4.

Ko, who has been widely crit­i­cised lead­ing into the first LPGA Tour event of 2018 for yet an­other shake-up of her sup­port staff, shot four birdies in her open­ing round with 14 pars.

It was re­vealed on Tues­day that Ko had re­placed coach Gary Gilchrist with for­mer PGA Tour pro­fes­sional Ted Oh, while Johnny Scott had re­placed Peter God­frey as Ko’s cad­die.

The changes ap­peared to have worked for Ko in the open­ing round on Thurs­day.

Scott was Ko’s 11th cad­die since she turned pro­fes­sional in 2013.

Ko, 20, started her round on the back nine and made a strong start with a birdie first up on the par-4 tenth hole.

She picked up two more birdies on the par-5 16th and the par-4 18th to be three­un­der at the half­way point of her open­ing round.

Ko, who won the Aus­tralian Open in 2015, made a blis­ter­ing start to the sec­ond half of her round with her fourth birdie on the par5 first hole be­fore she com­pleted a mis­take­free round with eight con­sec­u­tive pars through her last eight holes.

She landed on 10 of the 14 fair­ways, hit­ting 11 of 18 greens in regulation, and needed just 25 putts to com­plete the round.

World No.7 Ariya Ju­tanu­garn, who took Ko’s No.1 world rank­ing off her early in 2017, leads the chas­ing pack in a nine-way tie on -3.


Ly­dia Ko shot 68 to fin­ish her open­ing round at four-un­der.

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