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Ko misses cut in California

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 25/03/2017

World No.1 Lydia Ko has missed the cut at the LPGA tournament in California.

It's just the second time in 91 tournaments as a professional that she's missed weekend play.

Ko, who shot two-over 74 for her first round, could only manage even par in round two, mixing three birdies with three bogeys.

Her only other missed cut came two years ago at the KMPG Women's PGA Championship.

The defending champion sat two-under through 15 holes, but her putter let her down over the last three holes.

She missed short putts at 16 and 17, then three-putted to bogey the 18th.

"I tried my best out there to hopefully put myself in better position going forward, but I can't do anything about it," 19-year-old Ko said afterwards.

"I'm hitting my drives really well, but the birdie opportunities I had, I was missing quite a few of them. I was putting so much better today until the last few holes."

American Cristie Kerr holds the lead after two rounds, backing up her first-round 66 with a three-under 69 to lead compatriot Mo Martin and Korea's Mirim Lee by one stroke.

World No.2 Ariya Jutanugarn, closing in on Ko's top ranking, sits in a tie for 18th.

Seven months ago, the average points differential between Ko and Jutanugarn was 6.57 points. This week, the difference is just 1.5 average points.

Jutanugarn can only further close the gap this week, but a win next week at the first major of the season, the $US2.7 ($NZ3.8) million ANA Inspiration, will secure her the No.1 spot.

Ko has had a slow start to the season, but has improved steadily to record top-10 finishes at her last three LPGA events.

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