Golf: Lydia Ko not at the races in the first round of the LPGA New Zealand Women's Open

Lydia Ko hitting a shot during the Evian Championship in Evian-les-Bains, France, on Sept 17, 2017.
Lydia Ko hitting a shot during the Evian Championship in Evian-les-Bains, France, on Sept 17, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

Wellington (AFP) - Hometown favourite Lydia Ko finished five off the pace at the LPGA's New Zealand Women's Open Thursday as England's Jodie Ewart Shadoff and Brooke Henderson of Canada made the most of calm conditions.

Ewart Shadoff and Henderson both capitalised on early starts to finish seven-under par on 65, setting a joint-course record at Auckland's Windross Farm.

Ko, 20, the world No. 8, faced more blustery conditions late in the day and carded 70 for a share of 20th.

She said her putting let her down, but the defending champion and former world No. 1 remained optimistic about winning the first LPGA event staged in New Zealand.

"There is a lot of golf to play, I have to stay positive and have fun," she said.

"It's just fun playing at home and hear the fans clapping for me whether I make a bogey or birdie. It was fun to be in that rhythm of things... I just need to keep committing to my lines and distances."

The US$1.3 million (S$1.7 million) tournament is being held at the new Windross Farm course south of Auckland.