2 Apr 2016

One-eyed Ko one back at major

6:39 pm on 2 April 2016

A blinding allergy couldn't stop the world golf number one, Lydia Ko, from closing to within one shot of the lead at the first major championship of the year in California.

Lydia Ko, NZ Open, 2016.

Lydia Ko, NZ Open, 2016. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Ko climbed from 14th into a six way tie for 3rd on day two in Rancho Mirage with a four under par 68.

Starting on the back nine, the New Zealander struck an eagle on 11, a bogey on 13, before three birdies on two, five and nine.

At six under for the championship, Ko trails the leaders Lexi thompson from America and Japan's Ai Mayazato.

Mayazato (70) maintained her overnight lead while Thompson (68) stormed home with four birdies on the back nine to join the Japanese on top of the leaderboard.

An allergy troubled Ko throughout the day at Mission Hills Country Club, forcing the 18 year-old to change her contact lenses twice due to discomfort.

"When my eye was really sore I actually made more birdies so maybe that's the key for the weekend," joked Ko after the round.

"At the same time I wasn't as focused as I wanted to be [which] made my putting and everything more simple."

"I think that was the key coming down the stretch and got me to think in more of a simple way," she said.

"Hopefully the eye will settle down overnight and be fine for tomorrow."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs

We have regular online commentary of local and international sport.