CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand -- Seon Woo Bae had a course-record 64 on Saturday for a share of the lead after the second round of the ISPS Handa Women’s New Zealand Open.
Bae had nine birdies and a bogey to share the lead at 6-under 138 in the 54-hole Ladies European Tour tournament at the Clearwater Golf Club.
Lydia Ko shot a 4-under par 68 to tie Bae. The 15-year-old Korean-born New Zealander followed her 2-under 70 with a round including an eagle, three birdies and a bogey.
Belen Mozo of Spain shot 68 for third place at 5 under in the tournament. Among those tied with her is American Amelia Lewis, who also had a 68.
Other Americans making the cut were Dori Carter (1-under 143); Kris Tamulis and Alison Walshe (1-over 145); Jennie Lee, Christina Kim and Cheyenne Woods (2-over 146); and Beth Allen (3-over 147).
Ko drained a 35-foot eagle putt from the fringe on the par-5 14th (her fifth hole) hole that, she said after her round, “was a turning point for me.”
From there, Ko – the only New Zealander to make the cut – never looked back.
Italian Giulia Sergas (68) climbed to third and overnight leader Australian Nikki Campbell (71) dropped to fourth place.
Ko, who began the day tied for fourth, made birdie on the par-3 16th and then added another on the par-5 second from six feet to get to 6 under. Her only display of weakness was a flubbed chip on the par-5 fifth, but she saved par from 15 feet there.
“I was happy with that save. I got a really bad lie with the chip and I didn’t know where that ball was going to go,” she said. “I wasn’t that happy about that hole even though I made the par.”
Now, Ko has a chance to become the first New Zealander to win the tournament, and she knows she’ll have nerves standing on the first tee in the final group on Sunday.
“ will be there tomorrow but I just have to control my nerves and that is what happens every time. I have been playing pretty good so hopefully I can play like I have the last two days. It was nice to see a lot of me out there today. I definitely felt their support.”