Yarralumla, Australia (Sports Network) - Fifteen-year-old amateur Lydia Ko
fired a career-best, 10-under 63 on Thursday to grab a 1-stroke lead after
the opening round of the Women's Australian Open.
Ko, who won her third professional event last week, rattled off 11 birdies, an
eagle and three bogeys in her round at the par-73 Royal Canberra Golf Club.
Mariajo Uribe carded a 9-under 64 and is alone in second place, one stroke
clear of Jiyai Shin.
Ayako Uehara, Mi Hyang Lee and Rebecca Lee-Bentham share fourth place at
minus-7, while Giulia Sergas is alone in seventh after a round of 6-under 67.
Women's world No. 1 Yani Tseng, who played alongside Ko and Michelle Wie,
opened with a 5-under 68. She is one of six players tied for eighth.
Tseng ran off five birdies in a 6-hole span from the 12th, but had just one
birdie and one bogey the rest of the way.
"It was fun to watch her play golf today. I mean she still looks 15. I don't
know how she hit the ball so well," Tseng said of Ko. "I wasn't even that
close to her when I was 15. I really enjoyed playing with her today, too. She
pushed me up a little bit."
Ko, who won the New Zealand Women's Open last week, got off to a rough start
as she drove into the trees on No. 10, her first hole. That led to an opening
bogey. She came right back with a birdie on the 11th, and followed with
birdies on each of the next three holes.
"After my bogey on my first hole, which was the 10th, I thought 'what's today
going to be like?' But after a couple of birdies, I started to feel pretty
comfortable," Ko admitted.
The teenager holed a wedge shot from 100 yards out on No. 15 to jump into the
lead at minus-5. Ko's second to the par-4 16th ran through the green and that
led to her second bogey.
Not to worry. Ko bounced back with birdies on the next two holes to make the
turn in 6-under 30.
Ko had a chance at shooting 59, but the front nine plays to a par of 37 with
three par-5s. She parred her 10th hole, the par-5 first.
"I've played good before and gone triple, par, bogey or whatever. I didn't
really think about what I was going to shoot," said Ko if she thought about
shooting 59. "It was one shot at a time."
She poured in three consecutive birdies from the second. After a par at the
fifth, Ko birdied the par-5 sixth to get to 10-under.
At the par-3 eighth, Ko pulled her tee shot long, left of the green and failed
to save par. She erased that mistake at the ninth, when she stuffed her
approach shot at the par-4 within a foot of the hole.
Uribe had three birdies in the first five holes, before making eagle at the
sixth. She birdied No. 10 to move to minus-6. Her final three birdies came
between the 13th and 17th.
NOTES: Wie stumbled to a quadruple-bogey on No. 18, her ninth, en route to a
1-over 74, which left her tied for 99th ... Ko's 63 will not go as a course
record because preferred lies rules were in play ... Lee-Bentham and Moriya
Jutanugarn (70) shared medalist honors at Q-School last fall ... Defending
champion Jessica Korda opened with a 3-under 70 and is tied for 22nd ...
Maude-Aimee LeBlanc was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard.
The Sports Network