Golf: Lydia Ko leads at Lotte Championship after sensational second round

Kiwi golfer Lydia Ko has continued her recent hot streak with a sensational second-round 63 to lead the field at the Lotte Championship in Hawaii.

After shooting 67 in the opening round, Ko, who narrowly missed out on victory at the year’s first major two weeks ago, carded nine birdies – five of them in a back-nine 31 – to be on 14-under at the halfway mark, three strokes ahead of Spain’s Luna Sobron Galmes and American Nelly Korda.

The strong second round puts Ko in with a strong chance to win her first tournament since April 2018.

Earlier this month, Ko came agonisingly close to breaking her three-year win drought when she finished runner-up at the ANA Inspiration, after a record-breaking final round. The former world No 1 carded a 10-under 62, including eight birdies and an eagle, to end the tournament on 16-under – two strokes behind Thailand’s Patty Tavatanakit, who she trailed by eight shots at the start of the day.

Ko’s seven-under 29 front nine set the ANA nine-hole scoring record, and tied the lowest nine-hole score at any major championship.

The ANA Inspiration is the same tournament Ko won in April 2016, the last of her two major successes. She last won a tournament when she claimed the LPGA Mediheal Championship three years ago.

Prior to the final-round charge in California, Ko came close to victory at the Gainbridge LPGA at Orlando last month, finishing tied second with American Lexi Thompson, three shots adrift of Nelly Korda following a final-round flurry of birdies.

– More to come

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