ADELAIDE, Australia: South Korea’s Ko Jin-young extended her lead to three shots in the Australian Women’s Open at Kooyonga on Friday as former world No.1 Lydia Ko drifted down the leaderboard.
Ko Jin-young, 22, carded a three-under par 69 in morning conditions to go with her first-round 65 to be at 10-under 134 as the afternoon players battled in the sea breeze.
The closest at seven-under was American LPGA Tour rookie Emma Talley, who had a second-round 69, also taking advantage of the benign morning conditions.
Two major winners, Shin Ji-yai, who momentarily held the lead when she birdied Friday’s first three holes, and Yoo Sun-young were joint-third at six-under.
World No.20 Ko, who has logged 14 birdies in her opening two rounds, was by far the best player over the first two days.
She had started poorly, dropping shots at her first two holes, the 10th and 11th on the course, and losing the lead to compatriot Shin.
But she lit up the front nine, birdieing the first three holes from the par-five first, each time hitting it close, and regained control of the tournament.
“Yes, I like this course style,” said Ko, who has won 10 tournaments in Korea and 14 overall.
“Korean courses (are) more long hit and narrow and then (I) have to get longer distance and then straight shots, but here is wider, so stress is less.”
A few of the big names remain in the pack. The past two Australian Open winners, Japan’s Haru Nomura and Korean Jang Ha-na, were both at three-under, along with the Thai sisters, Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn, while world No.9 Cristie Kerr was at one-under.
World No.3 Ryu So-yeon faded with a 75 to be even-par overall.
New Zealand’s former world No.1 Lydia Ko made a run, getting to six-under but then strung four consecutive bogeys together on the back nine to fall off the leaderboard, finishing at two-under overall.
Among those to have the weekend off are Canadian Brooke Henderson, Cheyenne Woods and Mel Reid, as well as Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall, who followed a 68 with a disastrous 82.