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Jin Young Ko takes 1st-round lead at Women’s Australian Open

ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) Jin Young Ko left it late Thursday in her LPGA Tour debut to take a two-stroke lead on a tight leaderboard in the opening round of the Women’s Australian Open.

Ko, playing in one of the final afternoon groups at Kooyanga, had only one par on her back nine – the 11th – but she had six birdies and two bogeys on her final nine for a 7-under 65 to move past second-place Jiyai Shin.

Asked about her goals for the week, Ko replied: ”First one is make the cut, second one is enjoy. That’s it.”

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Former world No.1-ranked Lydia Ko was among a large group tied for third with 68s, two strokes behind.

”There’s lots of golf to be played but I’m happy with where I am sitting,” Lydia Ko, who is playing her first tournament of the year, said.

Among others tied for third were Americans Mo Martin and Caroline Inglis and Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall in the LPGA Tour’s second event of the year.

”It was just really solid,” Hedwall said. ”I hit a lot of greens and I had a lot of good looks and it just felt easy playing golf today.”

Martin said she’s not feeling her age.

”I think to be 35 and to feel like my best golf is ahead of me, that’s a special place to be,” the American said. ”I think my game’s kind of coming together in a special way, so, I’m really looking forward to this year.”

Veteran and five-time champion Karrie Webb, who says she’ll play a part-time schedule this year, shot 70. She has only played one tournament since last September, and that was a team event.

”I felt really comfortable out there and, if anything, I haven’t felt adrenaline for a while so the ball was travelling a lot further than I was anticipating, right through to the end of the day,” Webb said. ”So I just have to think about that a bit more tomorrow, but it was also because I was hitting it so well and swinging so confidently, which was nice.”

Laura Davies and Brooke Henderson each shot 72.

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