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Ko seven shots back at Evian Championship

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 15/09/2016

Lydia Ko of New Zealand plays a shot during the first round of The Evian Championship on September 15, 2016 in Evian-les-Bains, France. © Stuart Franklin/GETTY IMAGES Lydia Ko of New Zealand plays a shot during the first round of The Evian Championship on September 15, 2016 in Evian-les-Bains, France. Lydia Ko has made a sound start to her Evian Championship title defence yet finds herself seven shots off the pace in the year's final major.

The world No.1 negotiated fluctuating winds to shoot a one-under 70 in her opening round in France and sit in a share of 28th place.

She couldn't match the birdie output of Korean co-leaders In Gee Chun and Sung Hyun Park, on eight-under 63.

World No.7 Chun is a former US Women's Open champion who finished runner-up to Ko at this year's first major, the ANA Inspiration.

China's Shanshan Feng and American Annie Park are a stroke back in a share of third.

New Zealander Ko never threatened to go that low in a steady round which featured birdies on the fifth and 16th holes, along with a bogey on the eighth.

She has the advantage of an earlier tee-off time on Friday when she continues her bid to defend the title she claimed in emphatic style last year at age 18, becoming the youngest woman to win a major.

Of Ko's chief rivals, world No.3 Brooke Henderson sits a shot in front on two-under while second-ranked Thai Ariya Jutanugarn carded a 73 to be 65th.

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