Lydia Ko off the pace at US Open after disappointing first round

Lydia Ko’s bid for a third major title has taken a blow after a disappointing first day at the US Women’s Open in North Carolina.

The Kiwi golfer shot a one-over 72 to sit seven shots behind clubhouse leader Ingrid Lindblad, who scored the lowest round by an amateur in the tournament’s history thanks to a six-under 65.

Ko started off poorly with a bogey at the par-5 first hole followed by a string of pars.

She dropped another shot at the par-4 7th, but managed to bounce back with birdies on 8th and 10th. However, the 25-year-old wasn’t able to make ground on the leaders and only managed one more birdie in the back nine.

Ko will be hoping for a low round on day two if she is to fight back into contention at the US$10 million ($15.3m) second major of the year.

Sweden’s Lindblad shot the lowest round by an amateur in the 77-year history of the US Women’s Open and holds a two-shot lead.

“She was fearless,” said playing partner Annika Sorenstam, Sweden’s most famous female golfer.

Because she’s an amateur, Lindblad wouldn’t be able to collect the record US$1.8 million ($2.75m) first-place prize if she holds on to win the event. She would have had to declare as a professional before the tournament began.

When asked if, in hindsight, that was a mistake, the 22-year-old LSU junior known to her friends as “Iggy” paused and said with a smile, “I’m going to stay in college for like another year or so”.

“But when you say it, yeah … it would have been fun to win a little bit of money,” she said.

Australia’s Minjee Lee and Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist both shot 67 in the morning, and are two strokes behind after the early tee times. Several golfers remained on the course.

On the PGA Tour, Kiwi Dannny Lee finished his first round of the Memorial Tournament in Ohio with a one-over 73 to sit six shots behind the leaders.

Lee went birdie, bogey, birdie, bogey to start his round before a run of pars to finish off his first nine. He would go on to birdie the 11th and 14th but ended poorly with three-straight bogeys.

Five players sit in a tie for the lead: Cameron Young, Luke List, Cameron Smith, K.H. Lee and Davis Riley.

– With AP

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