14 Oct 2016

Ko struggling in Korea

6:28 am on 14 October 2016

World No.1 Lydia Ko birdied her last two holes to salvage a three-over-par 75 in the opening round of the latest LPGA tour event in Korea, though she's well and truly off the pace.

Lydia Ko

Lydia Ko Photo: Photosport

American Alison Lee leads following a seven-under 65.

The 21-year-old Lee has struggled throughout the year due to shoulder problems, missing five cuts in a row at one point, but said she was finally playing to her potential after opening a three-shot lead in Incheon.

"I injured my shoulder back in February and I didn't know what was wrong," she said after the round.

"I was scared to hit ball, because I didn't know where it was going to go.

"So it was tough mentally going through that, missing all those cuts. But I'm very happy with where my game is now."

New Zealander Ko, who has not won on the LPGA Tour since July, is being pushed hard for the circuit's points title by Thai Ariya Jutanugarn, who finished one over par.

The round matched Ko's worst of the season.

Swede Anna Nordqvist, France's Karine Icher, American Lizette Salas and Koreans Cho Jeong-min and Kim In-kyung are tied for second after carding matching 68s.

Defending champion Lexi Thompson is a further two shots adrift.

Australian Minjee Lee is tied for seventh at three-under.