Golf: Putter cold, but Ko happy with par start

World No 1 amateur Lydia Ko was happy enough with her solid start to her third major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship on the LPGA Tour in California yesterday.

But it could have been so much better if her putter hadn't been running cold.

The 15-year-old from the Gulf Harbour Country Club shot an even par 72 alongside golfing superstar Michelle Wie at the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage to be sharing 25th place after round one.

Ko is four shots behind the leading trio of South Korean Na Yeon Choi, Norway's Suzann Pettersen and England's Jodi Ewart Shadoff, who opened with rounds of four under par 68 in the fine conditions.

Ko agreed that her even par score was the worst score she could have had for the day, considering the number of birdie opportunities she set up with her precise iron play.

"Yeah, especially the front nine, which was my back nine, a few [putts] slipped by, and I said, 'oh, man, not again'," she said.

"I think it was a pretty solid start. My putts didn't fall, but I felt like I rolled it really well. I'm happy, even though."

The New Zealand Women's Open Champion, who began on the 10th tee, got off to a fast start with a birdie on her opening hole, but then gave it back with a bogey on the next.

"Yeah birdie on the first hole, that's always good, but then I don't play as good when I have a birdie on the first hole. But then I'll take it anyway."

She repeated the birdie-bogey combination on the 14th and 15th before making a fine birdie on the 17th to make the turn one under par and within touch of the leaders who at that stage were three under par.

Ko played steady golf on her back nine with several birdie chances until the par four seventh hole where she dropped a shot.

This left her on an even par 72 to be outside the top 20.

She enjoyed playing alongside Wie, who also carded an even par 72 in round one, and is getting used to mixing with the glamour girls of the LPGA Tour.

"It was fun. She's my idol, so I was very excited. But I was less nervous today because I played with her at the Australian Open."

Ko knows her friends, family and a growing number of fans are watching at home in New Zealand as Sky Sport is broadcasting the tournament live following her recent run of form.

- NZ Herald

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