OCALA, Fla. (AP) Top-ranked Lydia Ko shot a 3-under 69 on Wednesday in the Coates Golf Championship in her first round of the season, leaving her four strokes behind leader Ha Na Jang.
The 18-year-old Ko closed with a birdie on the par-5 18th, her fourth birdie on the back nine on the Golden Ocala course that features some tributes to holes at Augusta National, St. Andrews and others.
Ko tied for second last year in Ocala to reach No. 1 in the world ranking, and went on to win five times and take the Race to the CME Globe and LPGA Tour's points-based player of the year award.
Jang also birdied the 18th for a bogey-free 65 and a three-stroke lead over six players. Winless on the LPGA Tour, the 23-year-old South Korean player also tied for second last year behind Na Yeon Choi.