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Ko shares Los Angeles LPGA lead with Hataoka

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – World number one Ko Jin-young fired eight birdies in a seven-under par 64 on Friday to grab a share of the second-round lead alongside Japan’s Nasa Hataoka in the LPGA’s Los Angeles Open.

Ko, aiming to bounce back from a disappointing finish in the first major of the year at Rancho Mirage two weeks ago, reeled off four birdies in a row from the 11th through the 14th at Wilshire Country Club to power up the leaderboard.

She shot a seven-under 135, tied with Hataoka, whose three-under 67 included birdies on her lastthree holes.

“My putting was so good today,” Ko said. “I wasn’t expecting to play really well today, because in the afternoon it’s always hard to play this course. But my putting was good, so I’m happy with it.”

Ko, who added her fifth back-nine birdie on the 17th, said she didn’t even realise she’d played the back nine in five-under.

“I didn’t know that, I was in the zone,” she said.

The 26-year-old South Korean, who won five times last year and added her 13th LPGA title in Singapore last month, is coming off a disappointing share of 53rd at the Chevron Championship.

“I have two more rounds and nobody knows how it goes,” she said. “So (I’m) working hard and focusing on it and go get it.”

Hataoka said the breezy weather again made things tricky.