Weather turns but Ko, Jang storm into lead

Lydia Ko of New Zealand (right) hugs Jang Ha Na of South Korea at the Coates Golf Championship on Feb 6, 2016.
Lydia Ko of New Zealand (right) hugs Jang Ha Na of South Korea at the Coates Golf Championship on Feb 6, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

MIAMI • World No. 1 Lydia Ko shrugged off a late rules scare to earn a share of the third-round lead with Jang Ha Na at the Coates Golf Championship on Friday.

On a day when nobody completed the third round due to a thunderstorm on Thursday that put the event behind schedule, the pair both completed six holes on the Golden Ocala course.

They were seven under par when play was halted in semi-darkness on an unusually cold day that prompted many players to wear several layers of clothing for protection from the biting northerly wind.

Ko and Jang had a one-stroke lead over five players, including long-hitting American Lexi Thompson (seven holes), while 2014 US Women's Open champion Michelle Wie (12 holes) was four shots behind.

Ko was philosophical about some birdie putts that did not drop.

"I've just got to stay positive with the putter, but sometimes you just have to take what's going, and it's not like every single one of them is not dropping," the South Korean-born Kiwi teenager told reporters.

BALANCED POINT OF VIEW

I've just got to stay positive with the putter, but sometimes you just have to take what's going, and it's not like every single one of them is not dropping.

LYDIA KO, on missing several birdie putts at the Coates Golf Championship.

On the seventh green, she feared her ball had moved after she had addressed it for a tap-in.

Officials subsequently viewed TV footage of the incident, but detected no movement.

"You just want to make sure before you putt it out," said the 10-time LPGA Tour winner.

"I've had times where it has moved before, so I just wanted to clarify things, especially when it's that dark.

"I just want to make sure so that there are no further problems later on, and then I can sleep peacefully."

The event in central Florida is her maiden tournament of the year.

Her 2016 schedule includes the March 3-6 HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore.

Meanwhile, South Korean Jang said she was feeling "very confident" about her game as the 23-year-old plots a first LPGA victory, after four runner-up finishes last year.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 07, 2016, with the headline 'Weather turns but Ko, Jang storm into lead'. Print Edition | Subscribe