Date: February 20, 2015
Author: Mark Hayes

Ko soars with an eagle

World No.1 Lydia Ko has charged to the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open lead.

Ko, 17, has played the back nine in the second round three under par to be six under after 27 holes, alongside Korean Jang Ha-Na, with overnight leader Ilhee Lee, who’s off this afternoon, a shot further back.

The New Zealand prodigy mixed two bogeys among three birdies and an extraordinary eagle in an entertaining opening to a morning delayed 20 minutes by a heavy dawn fog.

It looked as though Ko might tear up Royal Melbourne when she made a short birdie putt on the tough 13th, her fourth hole, with two more par-fives to follow.

But an uncharacteristic failure to get up and down on the 14th meant a slow in her progress.

That, however, was soon forgotten when the youngest player to ever hold the world’s top golf ranking – men’s or women’s – holed out with a nine-iron from 124m for eagle on the par-four 15th.

A three-putt bogey on the par-three 16th was soon erased by a birdie on the par-five 17th and the swelling crowd marvelled at her ball control.

Jang similarly made a bogey on the 16th, but she’s made five other birdies in her round to be four under three 12 holes.

Na Yeon Choi, world No.12 and a winner on the LPGA Tour three weeks ago, is two under today through eight holes to be one under overall.

Aussie hope Minjee Lee is one under today to be two over, while her playing partner Marianne Skarpnord is also one under to be one over in total.

The marquee groups this afternoon are off between 12.30pm and 1pm.