Changes work for Ko
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.