14 Jul 2017

Ko has strong start at US Open

10:32 am on 14 July 2017

New Zealand golfer Lydia Ko has made a strong start to sit just off the lead at the US Open, the year's third major.

Lydia Ko.

Lydia Ko. Photo: Photosport

Ko is tied for third, just two shots behind leader China's Shanshan Feng, after carding a four under par 68 in her opening round in New Jersey.

Ko bogeyed the last after hitting a wedge from the fringe well past the hole, rather than putting through the frog's hair.

"Obviously a little disappointing to finish up with a bogey on the last, but when I see how many good par saves I made throughout the day, I'm OK with that," the 20-year-old said.

Ko, silver medallist at the Rio Olympics, played in a group with Feng and gold medallist Park In-bee (77) in an Olympic podium threesome.

"Shanshan is one of the most consistent players on tour, when she was making birdies, I tried to feed off that, when somebody in your group is playing good, I think it just kind of sets a tone for the day," Ko said.

Feng took it relatively easy after arriving in Bedminster, limiting herself to nine holes of practice on Tuesday and Wednesday while putting in extra time to work on her putting.

"It was my sponsor's tournament in China last week and I felt like it was my responsibility to actually go support my sponsor," Feng said about playing in the Kumho Tire Ladies Open.

"Also, that was my first time to play in China this year, so I really wanted to see my family and all my friends back home."

Feng said it proved to be a good warm-up for her - the course was narrow and forced her to hit the ball straight.

"I think that was one of my keys, why I actually played well today because I left myself birdie chances for most of the holes," she said.