Ko, playing her second tournament since become the youngest golfer ever to earn the top ranking, carded three birdes and an eagle on her front nine to share the clubhouse lead with??South Korea’s Jang Ha-na and Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn.
The 17-year-old, beginning the day two shots off the lead, opened with birdies at the 10th and 13th, although was left frustrated by dropping a shot at the 11th and only taking par at the 14th hole she had eagled the previous day.
The South Korean bounced back at the par-four 15th, pulling level with the leaders by holing out from 125 metres with a 9-iron for a stunning eagle.??
“That anger led me to hit an aggressive drive on the 15th,” Ko said. “I was so upset from the hole before that I gambled.
“A little bit of anger is good because it lets the steam out, whereas sometimes I’ve had experiences where I’ve kept it in and it’s definitely not helped me.”
Jang finished on four-under and Jutanugarn had a 71 after two early bogeys, leaving the leaders six-under at the midway point. ??
Charley Hull, the Ladies European Tour’s top money winner last year, ended fourth after a two-under 71, two strokes behind despite another inconsistent round.
The teenager recorded three early bogeys at Royal Melbourne, but ended the day positively with her fifth birdie of the round at the last.
Hull’s putting woes continued, as she followed last week’s triple-bogey at the Australian Masters and yesterday’s three-putt bogey on the 17th by missing two putts from less than three feet on the sixth green.
“I just four-putted that hole, it just didn’t go in,” Hull said. “I had a couple of three-putts as well. It’s just a learning experience for me.
“Sometimes I can get a bit ahead of myself and do silly stuff like that. But then I feel I concentrate well afterwards and try and get them back. ?? ????
American Jessica Korda, the 2012 champion, is a further shot adrift and tied-fifth with South Korea’s Amy Yang, while last week’s Australian Ladies Masters winner Su Oh missed the cut after a bogey-filled five-over second round.??