Australian Ladies Professional Golf
Ko 5 shots back at MCKAYSON New Zealand Women´s Open
Date: 28th September 2017
By: ALPG

Photo courtesy of Photosport

Hometown hero Lydia Ko will be playing catch-up in tomorrow’s second round of the MCKAYSON New Zealand Women’s Open at Windross Golf course, after shooting a solid opening 2 under par round of 70. 

The Kiwi superstar, who attracted some of the largest galleries witnessed on the LPGA Tour this year will start the second round five shots off the pace, after co-leaders Canadian Brooke Henderson and European Solheim Cup star Jodi Ewart-Shadoff each carded superb 7 under par rounds of 65.

Ko, playing alongside her good friend Australian Su Oh and big-hitting American Brittany Lincicome, teed off at 8:20 this morning from the 10th tee, and was off to a strong start with birdies at the 11th 12th and 15th holes to be 3 under par through 6 holes.
The 14-time LPGA tournament winner made three straight pars to make the turn in 3 under par 33, before a bogey at the short par 4 4th hole saw her fall back to 2 under par.
The 20-year-old, who has proved time and time again that she is wise well beyond her years, bounced straight back with a birdie at the par 5 5th hole, before another disappointing 3-putt bogey on Ko’s penultimate left her with some work to do the remainder of the week.  

Ko was her usual upbeat self when asked if a five-shot deficit was any concern for her at this point in the tournament.

“There is a lot of golf to play, I have to stay positive and have fun. It is just fun playing at home and hear the fans clapping for me whether I make a bogey or birdie – it was fun to be in that rhythm of things.

“I gave myself quite a few good looks at birdie, that’s all I can do. I just need to keep committing to my lines and distances, and if it doesn’t go in just move on to the next.”

“I hit the ball pretty well today and gave myself some good looks for birdies, even on the back nine today but I was not just about to hole it. That was the big difference between my front and back nine.

“I had a 3-putt on my 17th hole but if you are putting from 60 feet out you can’t think you can automatically two-putt.  Overall it was a really solid and a lot of positives to take into tomorrow.”

Ko, who is coming off two top-3 finishes in her last two starts in Indianapolis and Evian, feels that she is in a reasonable position after day one.

“There is a lot of golf to play, I have to stay positive and have fun. It is just fun playing at home and hear the fans clapping for me whether I make a bogey or birdie – it was fun to be in that rhythm of things.

“I gave myself quite a few good looks at birdie, that’s all I can do. I just need to keep committing to my lines and distances, and if it doesn’t go in just move on to the next.”

Overall Ko was both stunned and thrilled with the size of the massive gallery which had assembled turned out to support the local heroine

“I am excited there were so many people out there. It was awesome for them all to be out watching the golf. We had a big gallery but there were a lot spread around the course which was just awesome. I really enjoyed it.

“It makes you proud to play in your national open and being an LPGA event these world’s best golfers are getting this experience in our backyard, and to see all the crowds then these are the positives for these players. This was really good start.”

20-year-old Canadian Brooke Henderson came to Auckland very much as the strong undercard to the main event at this week's tournament, and showed today why she is considered to be one of the greatest talents in the women’s game.
Henderson also started her round this morning in the more benign conditions, and was quickly off the mark with a birdie at the par 4 tenth hole. She made further birdies at the 12th and 15th holes before a bogey at the long par 3 17th hole briefly halted the youngster's momentum.
Henderson is renowned for her aggressive style of play and was not about to let a bogey get in her way, bouncing straight back with a birdie at the 18th to make the turn at 3 under par, before letting loose on the back 9 with 4 more birdies at the 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th holes to finish at 7 under par. 

The Canadian was clearly delighted with her start to the tournament.

“It was a great start for me and exactly what I was looking for to get on top of the leaderboard early. I know with the conditions today that the scores were going to be really low. Hopefully I can continue the trend in the next days.

“To shoot minus seven on a golf course that I didn’t think completely suited my game is really exciting. My fast start really set-up my round and gave me a lot of momentum and a lot of confidence.”

Henderson, a four-time winner on the LPGA Tour, said the weather would be the key factor going forward.

“If the winds pick up it is going to be a completely different golf course. I was fortunate this morning that the winds were calm and the greens were holding more than the last few days.

“This course is a little shorter than what we regularly play and I hit a lot of wedges in but that is also because it was very calm today. One par-5 today I only had 80 yards but in the practice round I had 150.”

Henderson said that she had really enjoyed the experience playing in front of such fantastic crowds.

“The galleries were great today. I looked back on Lydia’s group and she had a lot of people following her which was really great for her. Our gallery was great, a lot of people and very respectful. Hopefully they will continue to grow.”

Co-leader Jodi Ewart-Shadoff was also an early starter this morning, and made no mistakes taking advantage of the perfect playing conditions.

I knew that today was supposed to be the best day of the 4 in terms of the weather so I said to myself this morning that I need to play positively and take advantage of the conditions which I did.”

Ewart Shadoff was delighted with her bogey-free round, and will be donating $100 for every birdie made this week to the Breast Cancer Foundation, a gesture which will be matched by her sponsors Radar Tyres.

“I just wanted to make as many birdies as I could, I didn’t really care if I made any bogeys, it was just really important to me to make as many birdies as I could to make some money for the charity. I am really happy with my start to the tournament. “

Ewart Shadoff, originally from Yorkshire in England, has strong sporting connections with her husband Adam Shadoff working as a sports reporter in the USA and her father being a former jockey, and said she was really enjoying both the course and the scenery this week.
“I really feel at home this week, on 17 there are a few horses in a paddock and the scenery and the weather is much like home”

“I didn’t expect to play as well as I did. My last tournament I missed the cut at the Evian. My confidence wasn’t too high coming in this week.

Spain’s Belen Mozo is tied in third place with Welshwoman Amy Boulden, with both players shooting 6 under par rounds of 66, with Boulden the only one of the leading four players who played in the more windy afternoon conditions.
Two-time major winner Brittany Lincicome is also lurking just 2 shots off the lead at 5-under par.

Su Oh was the best of Australian players at the end of the day after shooting a 3 under par 6. 

The 132-strong field this week will be competing for the Bessie Fullerton-Smith Trophy along with a share of the NZ$1.85 million prizemoney on offer, the richest purse on offer for a golf event in New Zealand.

Play will begin at 7:25 am tomorrow morning with the final group teeing off at 2.05pm.
After 36 holes the field will be cut to the top 70 players plus ties.

Live scoring can be found at nzwomensopen.com

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