RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) — Lydia Ko missed a chance to make some more history – and lost ground to the leaders Friday in the ANA Inspiration.
The 17-year-old Ko failed to break the LPGA Tour record for consecutive rounds under par, closing with a bogey for a 1-over 73 at Mission Hills.
“I just wasn’t hitting fairways and then it just kind of becomes no fun,” Ko said. “It’s fun because you’re trying to hit hook shots and low shots out of the trees. In that way it’s fun, but no, I just really couldn’t get my driver going. When you’re in that kind of position, it’s not easy around this course.”
She missed eight of the 14 fairways, four to the left and four to the right.
Needing a birdie on the par-5 18th to extend her streak to 30, Ko hit her second shot into the water after catching a flyer out of the right rough on her layup attempt.
“I just hit a three-quarter 6-iron,” Ko said. “I would have never guessed that I was going to hit a 6-iron 190, not even if I was Lexi (Thompson). So, obviously, that was the wrong club at the end of the day, but I thought even if it flew out of there, it would have at least stopped.”
After a penalty drop, her fourth shot rolled 15 feet past and she missed the putt.
On Thursday in the first major of the year, the top-ranked New Zealander shot a 71 to tie the record set by Annika Sorenstam in 2004.
“It was so cool that I’m tying with someone amazing and as great as her,” Ko said. “I was like, `Man, I would love to reach 30.’ But I’m relieved that this question is not going to be asked.”
Sorenstam is working the tournament as an analyst for Golf Channel.
“I applaud Lydia and her play over the last few months,” Sorenstam said. “I’m impressed with the composure she shows at such a young age.”
Ko’s worldwide streak, counting her victory in the Ladies European Tour’s New Zealand Women’s Open, ended at 32.
Ko was tied for 30th at even par, seven strokes behind second-round leader Sei Young Kim. Before Ko started her afternoon round, Kim eagled the 18th for a 65 to get to 7-under 137. The long-hitting South Korean player hit a hybrid to 6 feet to set up the eagle.
“I really hit the ball well and my putting was really good,” Kim said. “Everything was really good.”
Ko started the under-par streak in the first round of her victory last year in the season-ending event. She also won in Australia in February – the week before her New Zealand victory.
The teen made her 49th straight cut on the LPGA Tour, a career-long streak that started with 15 events as an amateur. She also has 10 straight top-10 finishes.
After getting back to 1 under for the round with a 14-foot birdie putt on the par-5 11th, Ko’s 15-foot birdie try on the par-4 13th circled the cup and came back at her. Her 13-footer on the par-3 14th went by the left edge, and she bogeyed the par-4 15th to drop to even par.
“I think after that 360 horseshoe, everything kind of turned around,” Ko said. “I would have never thought it would do a whole circle around the hole. That’s harder to do than holing that putt.”
On 15, she drove into the right rough – a thick tangled mess of Bermuda, rye and poa annua grasses – and tried to play a draw around a large tree. She didn’t make clean contact and the ball came up short, hitting high in the right greenside bunker and tumbling to the bottom. Her blast was too hard and low and went through the green, leaving a 15-footer from the fringe that she couldn’t hole.
She missed a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-4 16th and a 10-footer on the par-3 17th. After Thompson holed a 13-foot par putt on 17 from the same line, Ko missed the downhill putt to the left.
“I didn’t really pull it, but just kind of dove a little left,” Ko said.
On the front nine, Ko rebounded from bogeys on Nos. 3 and 5 with birdies on Nos. 6 and 7, then bogeyed No. 8 and birdied the par-5 ninth to make the turn at even par.
The 22-year-old Kim won her first LPGA Tour title in February in the Bahamas. A five-time winner on the South Korean tour, she’s making her 13th LPGA Tour start.
First-round leader Morgan Pressel was second at 5 under after a 72.
Thompson, the defending champion, was tied for sixth at 3 under. She shot 69. Third-ranked Stacy Lewis also was 3 under after a 69.