Amateur Lydia Ko overcame a rocky start for a round of even par 72 to sit two shots off the lead midway through the opening round of the Women's British Open on Thursday.
The 15-year-old, who is going for her second straight professional victory after claiming the CN Canadian Women's Open a few weeks ago, bogeyed two of her first three holes and had four bogeys over her opening nine before settling down and playing the back side in 1-under par.
”Everyone is expecting big things from me," said the teenager. ”But I don’t take much interest in what other people say. I just play my own game. Today, shooting par was a pretty good start. I could have had a few more birdies but, hopefully, I’m saving them up for tomorrow.”
South Koreans Haeji Kang and 2011 U.S. Women's Open champion So Yeon Ryu both opened with rounds of 2-under 70 to sit atop the leaderboard.
Twenty-eight players are within two strokes of the lead including seven-time major winner Karrie Webb of Australia. The 2002 champion was one of only 11 players to break par in the breezy conditions. She is one back and finds herself tied with eight other players including 2008 winner Jiyai Shin of South Korea, who is coming off a nine-hole playoff win three days ago.
Sixteen-year-old British amateur Charley Hull also shot 71 to sit one shot off the lead.
Taiwan's Yani Tseng, bidding for her third successive British Open, was a further stroke behind after an opening round of 72.
Samantha Richdale of Kelowna, B.C., started with a double bogey on her way to a round of 5-over 77 while Lorie Kane of Charlottetown struggled with four bogeys on her first six holes but closed with two birdies over her final three for a round of 78.