Golf: Lydia Ko and Steve Alker make flawless debuts in major championships

Lydia Ko was full of smiles after her opening round at the Evian Championship. Photo/Getty

Lydia Ko made a flawless debut in the penultimate major of the 2022 LPGA Tour schedule.

Ko, who won the Evian championship in 2015, fired a five-under bogey-free lap on Friday to tie for fifth in the standings, three strokes behind outright leader Ayaka Furue of Japan.

Ko was paired on her first round with fellow former event winners Ko Jin-young and Anna Nordqvist and credited that group’s class with helping build momentum on her round.

“It’s nice to play with two former champions. They get along on the golf course in a way that I’m trying to learn…especially Jin Young, who is the #1 ranked player there. always has something to learn.” Ko told the media after his tour.

“I think we’ve fed off each other really well. We all have different games, but it’s cool to see how we can break the course down, even though we have different ball flights and hit different distances. .”

Today was the ninth time Ko has shot 66 or less at a major on the LPGA Tour – tied for the most such rounds of any player since 2015. She’s also one combined 51 cents in the Evian Championship since coming of age, the highest par score of any player.

Also among the leaders in France is Nelly Korda who found herself in uncharted waters while making a return to golf after a four-month injury layoff.

“I’ve never done anything like it and I have to say it was really disgusting,” Korda said of taking a photo as he stood barefoot in a slimy lake.

Korda’s approach shot on the par-5 18th hole – his ninth of the day after starting at No. 10 – ended up rolling over a bank to the right front of the green and into the water. His caddy ran to the green and saw it was possible to make contact with the ball, so Korda took off his golf shoes, waded into the lake and splashed himself to the edge of the green .

Korda ended up recording a 7-under 64 that left him a shot behind Furue.

Furue, ranked No. 31, is looking to save a fourth-place finish at the major in France last year and birdied nine after his solitary bogey at No. 13.

She responded by birdie six of her next eight holes and then three of her last four.

Korda was tied for second with Canada’s No. 10 Brooke Henderson, who posted 64 as he double-breaked for the Eagle at No. 9, also his last hole.

Steve Alker posts calm opening round at Senior Open

Steven Alker is tied for 21st after the first round of the Senior British Open.

The 50-year-old didn’t drop a shot on the course at Gleneagles but only birdied twice to leave him four shots behind leaders Glen Day and Stephen Ames.

Playing with a new set of golf clubs after his own failed to arrive from the United States, Day didn’t expect to be a contender this week.

“I got them in time to play a few practice rounds,” Day said of his new clubs, “so at least I know where the ball is going with those clubs. It’s not ideal, but even if I get my stuff, I still can play these.”

Day converted an 8-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th at King’s Course to tie Stephen Ames’ bogeyless 6-under 64.

The 56-year-old American, who said he arrived in Scotland with “nothing”, didn’t feel like he was hitting well with his new driver or putter all day.

“I have no reason to believe that I would play well today,” he said.

Padraig Harrington also wasn’t too impressed with his own performance in his first Senior Open appearance.

Still, the two-time Open champion and defending US Senior Open champion birdied five on the back nine in his round of 66.

“I’m happy with the score,” said the 50-year-old Irishman. “I was very hesitant. I putt well and my putter saved me most of the day. I was just hesitant with my iron shots in particular.”

Paul Broadhurst, the 2016 champion at Carnoustie, was a stroke back with Jerry Kelly, Kent Jones and Darren Clarke.

Two-time British Open winner Ernie Els shot a 66 that included an eagle on the par-4 14th.

Bernhard Langer, the 64-year-old German who has won the Senior Open four times, was three strokes off the lead. Defending champion Stephen Dodd of Wales got 1 under with an eagle on the 18th.

– with PA