CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand's Stacey Tate stole the limelight from her illustrious compatriot Lydia Ko by shooting a 4-under 68 to share the lead with South Korea's Seon Woo Bae after after Friday's opening round of the New Zealand Women's Open.
Tate led outright after birdies at six of the first seven holes on her back nine, but bogeys at the last two holes brought her back into a tie with Bae in the Ladies' European Tour event.
World No. 4 Ko returned to New Zealand after finishing seventh at the latest LPGA tour stop in the Bahamas and was among a group of five players on 69, one shot behind the leading pair.
Ko was 2-over after her outward nine but came home strongly with five birdies — including the final two holes — for an inward 31.
The 29-year-old Tate, who played at the University of Memphis and is now based in Australia, birdied the first five holes on her homeward nine to stake her claim for the lead. In total she had seven birides and three bogeys in a fluctuating opening round.
Bae, who was the early clubhouse leader, had six birdies and two bogeys, including four birdies on the easier front nine.