Lydia Ko turned in a bogey-free 7-under 64 at TPC Kuala Lumpur to take the opening-round lead at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia.
Ko’s round was aided by a red-hot putter, highlighted by two consecutive lengthy birdie putts on holes 7 (15 feet) and 8 (12 feet).
“I was making putts today,” said Ko, who fired her best opening-round score of the year. “If you’re not striking the ball very well, but you’re able to make putts when you get birdie opportunities or to make those crucial par putts, those are going to be the three-or four-shot swings.”
Ko, 20, also cited her performance on the par 3s, where she made birdies on three of the the four short holes.
“It’s always nice to make birdies on par 3’s,” said Ko. “Birdies on any holes, you take it. I feel like 17 is kind of a lucky one. It was a really solid day for me, so I’ll take my 64.”
Su Oh, who carded nine birdies, is alone in second at 6-under 65.
Defending champion Shanshan Feng holds a share of third at 5-under 66, joined by last week’s winner Eun-Hee Ji and rookie Madelene Sagstrom.
“It would be great if I can do it,” said Feng about winning another title in Malaysia. “I’m really enjoying coming back every year. We always love the people here. I feel really relaxed.”
Ko, who is coming off a solo second at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship, is in search of her first win of the season.
LEADER’S SCORECARD: LYDIA KO
TOP 10: ROUND 1
1 Lydia Ko -7
2 Su-Hyun Oh -6
3 Eun-Hee Ji -5
3 Madelene Sagstrom -5
3 Shanshan Feng -5
6 Suzann Pettersen -4
6 Candie Kung -4
8 Nelly Korda -3
8 Jacqui Concolino -3
8 Danielle Kang -3
8 Minjee Lee -3
8 Moriya Jutanugarn -3
8 Sung Hyun Park -3
8 Gaby Lopez -3
VIDEO INTERVIEW: LYDIA KO
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QUOTABLE: LYDIA KO
“You know, with golf, and all the players out here, everybody’s super talented. Week-in, week-out, the talent level doesn’t change that much. But the person that’s more confident and more comfortable and positive, they are the players that are going to keep consistently playing well. I think the more I see the putts go in, or the more under par rounds I have, the more confident I get going into the next round or the next tournament. It’s just about confidence. So hopefully I’m going to play with confidence the next few days.”
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