Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Lydia Ko with solid, unspectacular round in Singapore

Lydia Ko hits a shot on the 15th fairway during the first round of the HSBC Women's Champions. Photo / AP
Lydia Ko hits a shot on the 15th fairway during the first round of the HSBC Women's Champions. Photo / AP

Lydia Ko needed to pack plenty of patience into her opening round of the HSBC Champions tournament yesterday in Singapore.

The world No 1 had to wait until the 16th for her first birdie then nailed another on the par five final hole to sign for an opening round 71. The teenager had earlier bogeyed the 11th to snap an unbroken stretch of pars.

Ko returned to the tour after missing last week's event in Thailand and had a solid unspectacular round to be in a tie for 27th with a bunch of players including Stacey Lewis, Jessica Korda and Lexi Thompson.

The 18-year-old Ko has started this year impressively with a third, then victory in the NZ Open and second in the Australian Open. She was runner-up last year to Inbee Park in this event.

Tour veteran Candie Kung and Australian teenager Minjee Lee share the lead after five under par rounds of 67on a day when rising late breezes hampered low scoring.

Kung who last won in 2008 welcomes the wind.

Defending champion Park looked to be heading for another remarkable day.

She has been bogey-free at the event from the third round in 2014, through her victory last year and had a clean card yesterday until she bogeyed the par three 17th to halt her streak at 115 holes.

"It's actually nice to get it over with today and without playing with it for the next three days," Park said. "It was a good round. To make a bogey is disappointing, but it happens."

While Park said she felt rusty after her off-season break, she tied her low round of the year with 68.

The 19-year-old Lee said the wind rose gradually during her round and work she had begun to lower her ball flight helped in the conditions.

"I think I'm getting the hang of it. It's been better. We've been working on my putting a little bit more with my caddie and everyone. So it's getting more steadier."

- NZ Herald

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