Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

Golf: Award-winning Ko shows her cool for share of fourth

Lydia Ko. Photo / Getty Images
Lydia Ko. Photo / Getty Images

Less than 24 hours after winning the supreme award at the Halbergs, Kiwi golfer Lydia Ko showed she was as relaxed as ever on her way to a four-under 68 during her second round at the Australian Women's Open in Melbourne yesterday.

The World No 4 was named New Zealand's sportswoman of the year and the supreme award winner at the Halbergs on Thursday night but her winning-ways didn't affect her game.

Ko's second round, which she finished off with a birdie at the par-five 18th, left her in a share of fourth place alongside Sweden's Anna Nordqvist and England's Holly Clyburn at eight-under for the tournament.

Sweden's Caroline Hedwall leads in Melbourne at 11-under, one stroke ahead of Norwegian Suzann Pettersen, while Australian amateur Minjee Lee is in third at nine-under.

Nordqvist produced the round of the day yesterday as she followed up an even-par 72 on Thursday to fire a birdie-laden eight-under 64 in her second effort.

Winning the supreme Halberg Award has clearly given Ko an extra dose of confidence.

"I want to share this award with the whole of New Zealand and all of the players I have played with, the juniors I grew up with," Ko said. "Being alongside great golfers when you are young builds up that rivalry and you want to play better because they are beating you."

Her second round was a mark of consistency as she punched in with four birdies and fourteen pars at The Victoria Golf Club.

As she moves in to the weekend only three strokes back from the leader it will be interesting to see if she can make a charge for the title.

Hedwall's move to the top of the leaderboard was aided by a seven-under 65 yesterday, which included a hole in one on the par three 16th and another eagle at the par-five eighth.

Hedwall lists Australia as her favourite place to visit and no wonder as she looks right at home.

Hedwall aced the par three 16th, although she wasn't aware of the accomplishment until she reached the hole. "I couldn't see it and I think the crowd didn't want to yell because Laura (Davies) was hitting off on number 17, so we walked up there and they were like, it went in.

"I was like, 'oh, nice'."

Key to Hedwall's game is her power, matching one of the tour's best in Pettersen with her length.

She said she honed that skill by trying to outdrive her twin sister Jacqueline, who is also an accomplished golfer, when they were young.

"I've always been swinging it hard," Hedwall said.

"We were competing against each other hitting it the furthest on the driving range."

Meanwhile, at the Queensland PGA Championship on the men's PGA Tour of Australasia, Kiwi Ryan Fox holds a share of second place at 12-under after two rounds.

Fox and Australian Brad Kennedy are five strokes back from runaway leader Anthony Summers (-17). New Zealand's Gareth Paddison is in a three-way tie for fifth at nine-under, while North Shore player Michael Hendry is in a share of 20th at five under the card, alongside fellow Kiwi Jared Pender.


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