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Lydia Ko cruises into lead at Women’s Scottish Open

Jun 25, 2022; Bethesda, Maryland, USA; Lydia Ko plays her shot from the fifth tee during the third round of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship golf tournament at Congressional Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Lydia Ko of New Zealand stayed bogey-free through 36 holes and shot her second 7-under-par 65 in a row to take over the lead at the Women’s Scottish Open on Friday in Ayrshire, Scotland.

At 14 under for the tournament, Ko is two shots ahead of Lila Vu, who shot a 67 Friday, and three shots clear of South Korea’s Eun-Hee Ji, whose 64 was the low round of the day at Dundonald Links.

Ko, the world No. 4, started her round on the back nine and stayed patient while making just one birdie. After the turn, she sank birdies at the par-4 first, the par-5 third and the par-3 second holes before an eagle at the par-5 fifth vaulted her into the lead.

“Overall I just gave myself good opportunities, and I felt like I did that really well the last couple days. And when I was out of position, I think I played smart and not get too aggressive and take my medicine.”

Ko closed out her round with one last birdie at No. 9. Now the attention will turn to the weekend’s weather forecast, when clear and balmy is projected to dissolve into wet and windy.

“Especially in conditions like this, where the wind is pretty calm and the sun is out, you have to take advantage of it because we all know that over on this side of the world, it can change pretty quick,” Ko said.

Ko tied for second at the Women’s Scottish Open last year. Like most of her peers, the 25-year-old is also preparing for next week’s Women’s British Open, the fifth and final major of the women’s golf season. Though a two-time major champ, Ko hasn’t won a major title since 2016.

Vu followed a first-round 65 with Friday’s 67. She posted six birdies against one bogey.

“I just put myself in a good position off the tee. I think that’s really important,” said Vu, 24. “You really make your birdies from hitting the fairways here, and each hole is different from the other hole. There’s not a lot of similar holes.”

Ji began her round on the back nine with four birdies. After recording her only bogey of the day at the par-4 second, she caught fire, holing four straight birdies and adding one more at the par-4 eighth.

“Honestly, I could have saved par there, but just missed the putt,” Ji said of her bogey. “But my caddie was telling me ‘Let’s bounce back,’ and cheered me on, so I played with more confidence and got a lot of birdies after that hole and finished with a good result.”

Thailand’s Wichanee Meechai fired a 65 Friday to move into a tie for fourth at 10 under with France’s Celine Boutier (69). Hye-Jin Choi of South Korea, the leader after one round, managed just a 71 Friday and was tied for sixth at 9 under with Alison Lee, Germany’s Leonie Harm and South Korea’s Hyo Joo Kim, all of whom carded 68s.

Defending champion Ryann O’Toole (71) and world No. 2 Minjee Lee of Australia (72) were among a group tied for 25th at 5 under. World No. 1 Jin Young Ko of South Korea shot 71 and was tied for 40th at 3 under.

–Field Level Media