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Golf: Kiwi Lydia Ko tied for lead midway through season-opening Tournament of Champions at Orlando

After a disastrous 2023 campaign, Kiwi Lydia Ko has made a promising start to the new year, tied for the lead halfway through the season-opening Tournament of Champions at Orlando, Florida. Ko, 26, barely retained her LPGA tour card, after finishing no higher than third and missing four cuts over the past 12 months, as her world ranking plunged from No.1 to 12th currently.

 

 

Fortunately, to qualify for this event, players need to have won a title over the past two years – Ko won three events, including the Tour Championship, in 2022. After carding a three-under-par 69 opening round at the Lake Nona Golf Course, good for sixth equal, she has returned a five-under 67 on the second day to sit level with overnight leader Ayaka Furue of Japan.

 

 

Ko’s flawless performance featured three birdies and an eagle three at the par-five ninth. She drew level with Furue with a birdy on the final hole. Only Englishwoman Charley Hull (66) shot a lower second round. Ko and Furue hold a two-stroke lead over Scott Gemma Dryburgh and Mexican Gaby Lopez, with Canadian defending champion Brooke Henderson another shot back in fifth. Ko missed this event last year, as she celebrated her recent marriage to Chung Jun.

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