Teen amateur Lydia Ko leads LPGA event


CANBERRA, Australia — Amateur star Lydia Ko, who is 15 years old, shot 10-under-par 63 on Thursday to take the first-round lead in the LPGA Tour’s season-opening Women’s Australian Open.


Mariajo Uribe was a stroke back while Jiyai Shin was two behind after 65.

Ko won the New Zealand Women’s Open on Sunday for her third victory in a professional tournament.

Last year, Ko won the New South Wales Open to become the youngest player to win a pro tour event and the Canadian Open to become the youngest LPGA Tour winner. She also won the U.S. Women’s Amateur.

Ko opened with a bogey on the 10th hole, birdied the next four holes and eagled the par-5 15th.

“I was in a really good group to start off with,” said Ko, grouped with top-ranked Yani Tseng (68) and Michelle Wie (74).

Ko bogeyed the 16th and birdied Nos. 17-18 to make the turn at 6-under 30 at Royal Canberra. The South Korean-born New Zealander added birdies on Nos. 2-4 and 6, dropped a stroke on No. 8 and closed with her 11th birdie.

EUROPEAN TOUR: In East London, South Africa, Jaco Van Zyl claimed the clubhouse lead on a blustery opening day in the Africa Open, but his advantage could be threatened by Adilson Da Silva when the first round resumes this morning.

Van Zyl shot 6-under-par 66 on a day when the winds reached such speeds that play had to be suspended for almost three hours as balls started moving on the greens.

Van Zyl had five birdies, an eagle and one bogey.

Playing in the afternoon session, Da Silva, 41, – a regular on the co-sanctioning Sunshine Tour – reeled off five birdies in his first six holes before the suspension.

Van Zyl was tied with John Parry at 4 under when European Tour Chief Referee John Paramor called the players in, but on resumption drove the green at fifth and sixth – both par fours – for a couple of two-putt birdies.

Parry ended up shooting 68 and is second among those players who finished their rounds.

Oliver Bekker had 69 and five players finished with 70s.