Golf: Kiwi Lydia Ko tied for lead after opening round at LPGA Drive On Championship

Kiwi Lydia Ko has continued her hot form into the second event of the 2024 LPGA Tour schedule, tied for the lead after the opening day of the Drive On Championship.

After going 12 months without victory in the US women's championship, Ko broke her slump with a two-stroke victory at the season-opening Tournament of Champions on her Lake Nona home course at Orlando last week.

The world No.9 has carried that touch across the state of Florida, carding a six-under 65 on the first day at Bradenton to sit level with American rival Nelly Korda. Ko completed another blemish-free round that included consecutive birdies on the final two holes to catch Korda.

Lydia Ko in action at the LPGA Drive On Championship.
Lydia Ko in action at the LPGA Drive On Championship. Photo credit: Getty Images

Starting on the back nine, perhaps her most spectacular play came on the par-three 15th, where she overhit the green with her tee shot, flirting with out-of-bounds and water, then left her second up the hill short to watch it roll back towards her feet. 

Ko, 26, cooly avoided a tree trunk to chip in for par. 

"I played really solid, especially in the first half of the round," she said. "I definitely think my chip-in was good momentum for me, because that could easily have turned into a double [bogey].

"This golf course can get really out of hand quick, but pars are really good, especially on some pin positions. The greens and the wind are a big factor, you're just trying to play the best golf you can and sometimes you just have to take your medicine, if you do put yourself out of position."

She and Korda are a stroke clear of Dane Nanna Koerstz Madsen, with four players another shot further back.

Victory would give Ko the one point she needs to enter the LPGA Hall of Fame.