Lydia Ko starts 2108 in style with four-under 68 for share of Australian Open lead

  • 15/02/2018
Lydia Ko's four-under 68 was enough for a share of the lead.
Lydia Ko's four-under 68 was enough for a share of the lead. Photo credit: Getty

Former world No.1 Lydia Ko knows she's getting bagged for swinging changes almost as much as her golf clubs.

The New Zealander carded a four-under-par 68 in Thursday's opening round of the Australian Open in Adelaide, three shots behind South Korea's pacesetter Jin Young Ko.

Another South Korean, Jiyai Shin, is outright second at five under with Australians Hannah Green (-3) and Karrie Webb (-2) well positioned.

The Kiwi Ko was among 10 golfers to shoot 68, in her first competitive round with another coach and another caddie, having again swapped her entourage this year.

The 20-year-old has had 11 caddies since turning pro five years ago.

And she's on her third coach after hiring and firing one within a year.

But Ko says critics of her changes miss the point.

"I'm trying to make the decisions where I think it's the best for me in my career," Ko said after her first round at the Kooyonga course.

"Sometimes, I think 'hey, maybe I shouldn't have done that'. But I feel like I made the right decisions.

"All I can do ... is do what I think is best for me and, sometimes, not everybody is going to agree."

Ko last year lost her world No.1 ranking amid her first winless LPGA season since 2012.

Her meagre year came after switching coaches from the renowned David Leadbetter, with whom she worked from 2013 to the end of 2106.

In came Gary Gilchrist, who lasted just the year. Now, Ko is working under Ted Oh.

"Hopefully, this one does go a long way," she said.

The early signs at Kooyonga are promising. Ko birdied four of her initial 10 holes.

Top-ranked Australian Minjee Lee banked an even-par round while compatriot Green was the best-performed local at three under.

"I'm very happy that I got off to a good start; lots can happen around this golf course," Green said.

"There's lots of golf to be played but I'm happy with where I am sitting."

NZN