Great putting keeps Ko in the fray

Lydia Ko hitting her tee shot on the fifth hole in the second round of the Women's PGA Championship. Nifty work on the greens on the back nine means she trails the co-leaders by just a shot.
Lydia Ko hitting her tee shot on the fifth hole in the second round of the Women's PGA Championship. Nifty work on the greens on the back nine means she trails the co-leaders by just a shot.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

SEATTLE (Washington) • World No. 1 golfer Lydia Ko had her putter to thank for keeping her in the hunt for a third straight Major on Friday, after shooting a one-under 70 that left her a stroke behind leaders Brooke Henderson and Lee Mi Rim at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship.

The 19-year-old New Zealander scrambled her way to eight pars and a birdie on the back nine of her second round at Sahalee Country Club outside Seattle.

South Korean Lee had a 69 and Canadian Henderson a 73 as both ended on two-under 140.

"If it wasn't for my putter I know I wouldn't be in this position," said Ko, who won the Evian Championship last September and the ANA Inspiration in April.

"I feel like I'm in a really good position. There's still a lot of golf to be played, I just have to focus on my game and enjoy it rather than think about what could happen on Sunday."

First-round leader Henderson looked like she would again finish the day alone in top spot but her second shot into the 18th found a bunker and she made bogey to drop into a tie with Lee.

"I'm disappointed with the missed (par) putt at the last but overall I'm happy with where I am," said the 18-year-old. "It was a tough day and the conditions made it difficult. I hung in there."

Early sunshine gave way to cool temperatures and eventually rain.

Lee enjoyed one of the day's best rounds that took her to the top.

Ko has Americans Gerina Piller and Brittany Lincicome for company in third spot.

Piller, who has finished in the top three in three of her last five events, was unhappy with her ball-striking on Friday.

The 31-year-old said: "I'm putting great, so I know if I can just get around the hole I have a chance to make par or birdie or save some shots there."

Japan's Ai Miyazato shot a 70 playing alongside Henderson and is two shots back at even par with Tiffany Joh, Australian Su Oh and South Koreans Ryu So Yeon and Kim In Kyung.

REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 12, 2016, with the headline 'Great putting keeps Ko in the fray'. Print Edition | Subscribe