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Ko happy with first round effort

Published: 10:48PM Thursday September 13, 2012 Source: ONE Sport

World No.1 amateur Lydia Ko is pleased with her solid start to her British Open debut at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club.

The 15-year-old from the Gulf Harbour Country Club signed for an even par 72 to be in a share of 12th place only two shots back from the South Korean leaders Haeji Kang and So Yeon Ryu.

Ko, who has been in the spotlight all week leading into the tournament following her Canadian Open win, handled the big occasion superbly as she once again outscored many of the best golfers in the world.

"My goal was two under today," said Ko after her round in blustery conditions.

"One of my other goals was to not go in any of the fairway bunkers and I went in one fairway bunker which cost me a shot. I shot even so not too bad. The leading score is only two under anyway so that shows that it is very tough out there."

Ko, who began on the 10th, opened with a birdie-bogey start. She birdied the par four 16th to make the turn in one under par 36.

She traded three birdies and four bogeys coming home to be the leading amateur and in contention for her first major championship win.

Ko was pleased with her long game but found the greens noticeably quicker than what they had been during the practice rounds.

"Today I think my tee shots were pretty good and I think that was one of the ideal parts because it is quite narrow here and everything else was pretty good. I just need a little bit more speed control [on the greens] and I think I'll be all good tomorrow."

Ko made five birdies in all which showed that she can score well around Hoylake if she limits her mistakes. Her favourite birdie came at the opening hole of the course.

"I think my best birdie was on one, which was my tenth hole, because I reckon that hole is a monster. I hit three wood, five wood today, and sometimes it's three wood, three wood, so its not a short hole, for me at least, and yeah I made a pretty good birdie there."

The New Zealand rep made back to back bogeys late in her round when she was put on the clock for slow play. She was surprised because she thought she was on her time par.

"I seem to be, well our group, seems to be getting put on the clock for pretty much every tournament, I dont know why, maybe it's me or something. But it was ok. I think I've kind of got used to it."

"The groups behind me, some of them were like a similar speed to us but then we were at the front of the whole group.

"All of my bogeys I missed the greens, I don't think I three putted any today. The wind kind of died in the middle bit so it was much easier then, it was blowing the most at the start."

Ko admired the length off the tee of playing partner Lexi Thompson who opened with a two over par 74.

"She is a little bit more erratic than me, but I mean I want that distance [laughs]."

The teenage star and her coach Guy Wilson went straight to the short game practice area following her round to work on her putting and her chipping.

Ko tees off at 11:40am (10:40pm NZT) in round two and has a similar game plan to stay in touch with the leaders.

"The goal is two under again for tomorrow, if it's windy and rainy then I'll be happy with even par."