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Challengers for Ko's top spot struggling

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 26/05/2017

Lydia Ko's No.1 world ranking appears safe for another week, if the first round of latest LPGA tournament in Michigan is any guide.

Ko is skipping the Volvik Championship in Ann Arbor, beginning the start of a three-week break for the New Zealander.

It opens the door for second-ranked Korean So Yeon Ryu or third-ranked Thai Ariya Jutanugarn to claim top spot, with both having closed the gap considerably on Ko, who hasn't won a tournament for 10 months.

However, the pair made sluggish starts on Thursday, both shooting even-par 72 to share 80th place and leave them in danger of missing the cut.

They are seven strokes behind co-leaders Stacy Lewis (USA) and Wei-Ling Hsu (Taiwan).

Ryu will become No.1 with a top-four finish on Sunday while Jutanugarn can become the first Thai to claim the throne with a top-three finish.

Ko, whose season has been solid rather than spectacular, is undergoing a mid-season break which has been a feature of other seasons in her fledgling career, with the goal of staying fresh.

She plans to sightsee in Orlando, her home city for four years, before returning for the Meijer Classic in Michigan from June 15-18.

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