Date: February 19, 2015
Author: Martin Blake

World No. 1 in hunt at Royal Melbourne


New world No. 1 Lydia Ko bombed an eight-metre eagle putt on the 14th hole to haul herself back on to the leaderboard as the afternoon players treaded water in the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open today.

Ko, the Kiwi teenager, made her first bad error of the day at the par-four 13th, chunking her approach short of the green and then chipping across the green and off the back of the putting surface.

But at the very next hole, the reachable par-five 14th, she hit a fairway metal shot on to the green and rammed the putt home for a three.

Through 14 holes Ko is three-under par, and just two shots from the lead held by South Korea's Ilhee Lee at five-under.

Lee, 26, picked up shots at the 10th, 11th, 13th and 15th holes to overtake Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn, the morning front-runner, with a 68. Jutanugarn, 19, carded a 69.

Lee, ranked 59th in the world, plays on the LPGA Tour in the United States, and won a tournament in the Bahamas in 2013. But today she cheekily focussed on the high number of players of her surname in the field (it is five). "I want to be the most famous Lee! That's my goal,'' she said.

Five-time winner Karrie Webb was sluggish in an opening 73, even-par, but 2012 winner Jessica Korda rallied with a one-under 72 after a bad start. World No. 4 Shanshan Feng struggled to a one-over par 74.

The closest Australians at one-under par are Katherine Kirk and Rebecca Artis.