Lydia Ko proved the old adage “form is temporary, class is permanent” to be true after putting her major struggles behind her with an opening round 67 at the US1.75 million (NZ$2.7 million) Dana Open in Ohio.
World No 3 Ko has just one top-10 finish to her name this year and failed to fire in the LPGA Tour’s back-to-back majors, finishing in a tie for 57th at the PGA Championship in June and a lowly 33rd at last week’s US Women’s Open following a disastrous opening round.
But the two-time major winner and reigning LGPA Tour player of the year rediscovered her touch at the Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvana on Thursday (Friday NZT), carding a blemish-free four-under opening round to sit in a tie for 13-way tie for 14th.
Ko made four birdies and hit 11 of 14 fairways in a measured first round and is only three shots behind join clubhouse leaders Linn Grant of Sweden and Jaravee Boonchant of Thailand.
Lydia Ko drains this birdie on 13 💪 pic.twitter.com/mDDke2thxP
— LPGA (@LPGA) July 13, 2023
Boonchant’s fellow Thai Ariya Jutanugarn is a further shot back on six-under alongside Dane Emily Kristine Pedersen, while rising American sensation Rose Zhang – who won the Mizuho Americas Open on her professional debut – is one of nine players locked on five-under.
After making par on the opening hole, Ko got her first birdie of the day on the second pin. She didn’t make another until the 10th hole, before two more birdies on the 13th and 16th kept her in the hunt on a day of low scoring. The projected cut line currently sits at one-under.