Ko Posts Three Straight Birdies On Front Nine Sunday

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UPDATE: Sunday, 12 p.m.

After a tough day on the course yesterday, Lydia Ko and Louis de Kerillis are 1-under par mid-way through her fourth round.

Lydia struggled throughout round three on Saturday, finishing the day 7-over par for the round and 11-over for the tournament.

She teed off at 8:39 on Sunday morning and after making bogeys on the 4th and 6th holes, she ripped off three straight birdies to close out the front nine and has held even par on the back through 13 holes.

UPDATE: Saturday 10 a.m.

Lydia Ko and her caddy, Southampton native Louis de Kerillis, have made the cut of the U.S. Women’s Open after finishing the second round early Saturday morning.

Teeing off on the 8th hole just after 7 a.m. on Saturday morning, where their round was cut short when play was suspended Friday evening because of fog, Ko was 1-over par on the last two holes and finished the second round at 4-over par. The cut was set at 6-over par. A total of 68 players will play the final two rounds of the tournament.

The final nine holes of Ko’s second round were the rougest she’s had yet. After a birdie and a bogey and a par save despite taking an unplayable lie on 13 (she started the day on the back nine), she made the turn at even par. Ko, the top-ranked amateur in the world, ran into trouble on the par-3 3rd hole. After yanking her tee shot into deep rough left of the green, the 16-year old amateur from New Zealand, was barely able to move her ball with her first hack. Her second swing through the thick fescue shanked sideways into a greenside bunker and her fourth shot just caught the lip and fell back into the sand. She got up and down for a triple-bogey six.

She didn’t appear rattled, ripping her drive to the middle of the fairway, but dunked her second shot on the 4th hole in a front bunker and left herself a 30 foot sweeping put for par. When it stopped two feet below the hole she tapped in for another bogey, dropping her to 4-over par.

With the cut line suddenly in view, Ko bore down, knocking her approach to three feet on the fifth for a birdie. But a bogey on the sixth set her back to 4-over again.

With the fog nearly obscuring the pin on the 7th green, Ko flew an iron shot to 10 feet above the pin and after a long conference with de Kerillis, who has worked at Sebonack for eight years, she drained the birdie putt, all but assuring that she would make the cut with two holes to play when the whistle blew just before 7 p.m.

Ko will tee off Saturday for her third round on the 10th hole at 11:12 a.m. She’s playing with American golfer Natalie Gulbis and Carlota Ciganda of Spain.

ORIGINAL STORY:

With Southampton native Louis de Kerillis carrying her bag, the world’s top ranked amateur woman golfer, Lydia Ko, posted an even par 72 in her first round at the U.S. Women’s Open at Sebonack on Thursday.

“I started off with a bogey and ended up with a bogey, so, other than that, it was a pretty good day,” the 16-year old Ko said in an interview after her round. “I made some really good birdies. And it’s not an easy golf course, so even par is a pretty good start to the Open.”

Benign conditions and slow greens led to scores by a handful of golfers much lower than many had expected at Sebonack. But with rains and stronger winds forecast for Friday, Ko’s even par start puts her in good position to make the cut after Friday.

“On a couple of the shorter putts, she was a little hesitant today, so I need to get her confidence up there,” said de Kerillis, who works as an assistant pro at Sebonack, after the round. “But other than that, she’s got complete control of her game. She’s like a veteran player. Her swing didn’t change from the first shot to the last shot. The only time she left the fairway, was to go to the restroom.”

After bogeying the opening hole, Ko settled in to a great front nine, draining birdies on the fifth, sixth and ninth holes to make the turn at 2-under par. She was playing with last year’s U.S. Women’s Open champion, Na Yeon Choi, and 2009 LPGA Championship winner Brittany Lincicome.

Bogeys on 11 and 14, after a 2-foot “gimmie” rimmed out of the cup, the 16-year old amateur South Korean ex-pat from New Zealand was back to even par. But but after knocking her second shot pin high right of the green on 15, she got up and down with a tap-in birdie to put herself back in red numbers.

After two perfect shots on the par-5 18th, Ko knocked her short approach shot past the pin, leaving a 20 footer from off the green for birdie. The putt came up three or four feet short and her par put skimmed the low side of the cup.

“It’s definitely one of the toughest greens I’ve putted on,” Ko said. “There are some holes where you can go for it and some holes you just can’t because the greens are so elevated here.”

Fellow Sebonack employee Joe Carson was on the bag for NCAA champion Annie Park, a senior at USC. Park posted a 7-over par first round and will likely have to score well below par on Friday to make the cut.

de Kerillis said he is confident of his player’s ability to post another good, or better, score on Friday and go into the weekend with a chance to contend.

“I want to have a good solid round tomorrow and get to the weekend,” he said. “She can dial it in. This girl is going to win a lot of tournaments.”

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