South Korean Jin Young Ko followed her opening 65 with a three-under-par 69 to lead for a second day at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open at Kooyonga Golf Club in Adelaide.
Ko, who is making her first appearance in Australia, started with a pair of bogeys on the 11th and 12th holes but made three consecutive birdies from the first hole before adding another at the fifth to move to 10-under-par, with a three-stroke clubhouse lead over American rookie Emma Talley.
Ko may be an LPGA rookie in name, but she won the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship in October and already has 14 titles as a professional, including 10 on the KLPGA Tour.
She also finished second behind Inbee Park in the 2015 Ricoh Women’s British Open at Turnberry.
Ko’s trying not to put too much pressure on herself this week, however, she said that the Kooyonga Golf Course is shorter and more open than the courses that she is used to playing in Korea, allowing her ‘heart to relax.’
Fellow South Korean Jiyai Shin, who is fresh off her 50th career professional win at the ActewAGL Canberra Classic, backed up her opening 67 with a 71 to sit in joint third place and Ko and Shin have something in common more than their positions on the leaderboard this week. Ko’s caddie, who she has worked with for the past two seasons, an Aussie Dean Herden, was on Shin’s bag for her LET win last week.
The other players in the mix include Lydia Ko, Nasa Hataoka, Sun Young Yoo, Yu Liu, Olivia Cowan, Hannah Green, Hyein Choi, Mo Martin and Luna Sobron Galmes.
But veteran Karrie Webb, who is playing a reduced schedule this year, followed her opening 70 with a 78 to sit on four-under-par, just outside the projected cut mark to the leading 70 players and ties. Of the chasing pack, Minjee Lee is tied for 17th place.