Fourteen-year-old amateur Lydia Ko shot her second-straight 3-under 69 on Saturday to grab a share of a six-way lead after the second round of her home tournament, the 54-hole Women’s New Zealand Open.
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Ko, who became the youngest winner of a professional tournament when she won last month’s New South Wales Open, briefly held the outright lead at 7-under before a late bogey brought her back to the leading group on a 6-under tally of 138.
The leaders came from six nations: the South Korean-born New Zealander Ko, Mariajo Uribe of Colombia, Lindsey Wright of Australia, Haeji Kang of South Korea, Alison Walshe of the United States and Carlotta Ciganda of Spain.
Five players were a further shot back in seventh place on 139, including Americans Cindy Lacrosse and Gerina Piller.
Ko started the day in joint 12th place, two strokes off the lead but quickly made ground with a birdie on her opening hole. She bogeyed the par-4 third, then had birdies at the fourth and fifth holes to have a share of the lead near the end of her outward nine.
Ko overcame gusty conditions to birdie the par-3 11th and moved into the outright lead with a further birdie at the 13th. But a bogey at the tricky par-4 17th brought her back into a share of the lead.
”It feels good,” she said. ”I was like 12th or something overnight so it’s good to be up with the leaders.
”I’ll try hard tomorrow and hopefully play good like I did at New South Wales.”
Lacrosse and Canada’s Lorie Kane, who were tied in seventh place, shared Saturday’s best round at 67. The tournament is co-sanctioned by the Australian and European tours.