Lydia Ko shoots 5 under to take early lead at Canadian Women’s Open

Source: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Source: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

COQUITLAM, B.C. – Lydia Ko shot 5-under 67 to take an early lead Thursday at the US$2.25-million Canadian Pacific Women’s Open.

Ko, a two-time Canadian Open winner, could have increased her lead except for a pair of bogeys.

“It’s a really solid start,” said the New Zealand golfer, who was a 15-year-old amateur when she first won the title on the Vancouver Golf Club course in 2012. “I had the same score the last time I was here.

“It’s good to start off well and hopefully this will give me good momentum for the next couple of days.”

Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg and American Danah Bordner were both a stroke behind at 4 under. Two South Koreans, Ha Na Jang and Sei Young Kim shot 3-under 69s.

Hi Jung Hur, of South Korea, was in contention until a bogey on the 15th hole and a double bogey on 18. She finished tied for sixth with a 70.

The tournament, which ends Sunday, is being played on the 6,681-yard, par-72 Vancouver Golf Club. The winner earns $337,500.

The group teeing off in the afternoon includes defending champion So Yeon Ryu, of South Korea, and Brooke Henderson, of Smiths Falls, Ont., the 17-year-old who became the youngest Canadian to win an LPGA or PGA Tour event with her victory last weekend at the Cambia Portland Classic.

Ko, who has two victories this year on the LPGA Tour and collected over $1.36 million, said it feels good to be back in Vancouver.

“The fans are so welcoming,” she said. “I just feel very welcomed and it’s like coming home. There are a lot of good memories.”

After dealing with baking heat earlier in the week the golfers teed off in cool temperatures and dark, threatening skies Thursday.

Ko said the weather could affects scores as tournament continues.

“There could be some really low numbers, with the weather and how firm the greens get,” she said. “It can get a little testy out there.

“My goal was to shoot a number around 4 under today. If someone shoots 6 or 7 under, there isn’t much I can do about that.”