Ly­dia Ko grabs a 1-shot lead at Swing­ing Skirts

The China Post - - SPORTS -

De­fend­ing cham­pion Ly­dia Ko shot a five- un­der 67 to seize the early lead at the LPGA Tour’s Swing­ing Skirts Clas­sic tour­na­ment on Thurs­day.

The world num­ber one from New Zealand looked con­fi­dent and com­fort­able in the first round much like she did last year when she picked up her first pro­fes­sional win at this event.

“I read most of (the greens) re­ally well,” Ko said. “I tried to be con­fi­dent with the reads I had. It’s tough here so you can’t re­ally be overly ag­gres­sive.”

Ko, who turns 18 on Fri­day, has won six times on the LPGA Tour. Her first win came at the 2012 Canadian Open as an am­a­teur.

Juli Inkster, 54, posted a fou­run­der 68 and she is tied for sec­ond, one stroke be­hind Ko at Lake Merced Golf Club. The 2015 Sol­heim Cup cap­tain is joined there by Jang Ha-Na of South Korea and Thai­land’s P.K. Kongkraphan.

Inkster hasn’t won an LPGA Tour event since cap­tur­ing her 31st ca­reer victory in 2006.

“Age mat­ters in a lot of things, as far as how your body feels, how far you hit the ball and how much time you can put into it — but you can still go out there and com­pete at 54,” Inkster said.

World num­ber two Stacy Lewis head­lines a group of four play­ers tied for fifth at three un­der. Lewis fin­ished the first round along­side Mor­gan Pres­sel, Caro­line Hed­wall and Choi Na-Yeon.

Ko be­gan her round with four straight pars be­fore mak­ing her way up the leader­board.

Inkster, Jang and Kongkraphan all shared the club­house lead early on. Ko pulled even with the trio with four birdies in five holes from num­ber five.

Fol­low­ing a par at 10, Ko briefly dropped back to three un­der for the day with her lone bo­gey at the par-four 11th.

Ko then took the lead for good when she drained back-to-back birdies on 13 and 14, get­ting her to five un­der. She ended her day with four con­sec­u­tive pars to fin­ish with a 67.

Jang started quickly mak­ing five birdies and two bo­geys on her front nine along with two pars. On the back nine she rolled in three more birdies and two bo­geys.

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