Golf: Lydia Ko makes solid start to Taiwan title defence

Lydia Ko opened with a two-under 70. Photo / AP
Lydia Ko opened with a two-under 70. Photo / AP

Lydia Ko has made a solid start to the defence of the LPGA Tour's Taiwan Championship in Taipei.

The world number one has carded a two under par 70 to be tied for 10th. Ko had a double bogey on the par-4 fifth which was her only blip of the round which included four birdies.

Sakura Yokomine bogeyed the final hole for a 5-under 67 and a one-stroke lead over Brooke Henderson, Paula Creamer and Amy Yang.

Yokomine eagled the par-5 12th - hitting a 5-wood to 15 feet - and had three back-nine birdies at windy Miramar before dropping the stroke on the par-5 18th.

The 30-year-old Japanese player is winless in two seasons on the LPGA Tour after winning 23 times on the Japan LPGA Tour.

"My shots were good," Yokomine said. "It was strong, a strong wind today.

Each shot I had to concentrate."

Henderson birdied three of the final four holes, playing in the last group of the day."It's very windy out here so you really got to pay attention," Henderson said.

The 19-year-old Canadian chipped on the par-4 15th, with the ball racing downhill and hitting the flagstick.

"I kind of had a tough lie in the rough there on the left side of 15, and so I just kind of tried to hit it out to the right," Henderson said. "I was thinking in my head, 'Try and get up-and-down and save par and then try and make some birdies on the last three holes.' I was able to chip that one in, birdie 16, had a good chance on 17, birdied 18. It was really the ideal ending."

The fourth-ranked Henderson has two victories this year, winning the major KPMG Women's PGA in June and successfully defending her Cambia Portland Classic title in July.

Yokomine and Henderson are making their 26th starts of the year, tied with Kim Kaufman for the tour lead.

Henderson plans to play all six weeks on the Asian Swing, a journey that started last week in China with a fourth-place tie, and will take her to South Korea, back to China, and then to Malaysia and Japan.

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