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The World No. 1 needed 34 putts to navigate Mission Hills Country Club, which led to a disappointing two-over 74 that has her eight shots off the lead held by Minjee Lee and Jennifer Kupcho and scrambling to make the weekend.
That brought the two-time major winner's streak of 34 consecutive under-par rounds to an end, a run which began back in July of last year.
"I was hitting lots of great shots but my putting wasn't good on the greens," Ko said of her slow start to the first major of the year. "I couldn't see the break as much or speed, everything was wrong. I don't know what happened. But that's why I couldn't make anything today."
Indeed Ko, who also saw a run of 16 consecutive rounds in the 60s come to an end with a 71 at last week's JTCB Classic, failed to make a birdie on the Mission Hills layout that is hosting the first major of the year for the final time.
Sixteen pars were punctured by two bogeys as the 26-year-old's quest to land a third major title failed to get off the ground on day one. Ahead of the 2022 season, the South Korean admitted she was still struggling with a left wrist injury that had given her problems last year, and she could be seen with it taped up both last week and this.
She has, however, been eager to stress that this is purely a precautionary measure. Ko won on her first start of 2022 at the HSBC Women's World Championship and followed that up with T-4 finish at last week's JTCB Classic.
She currently tops the world rankings ahead of Nelly Korda and Lydia Ko.
A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform producing football reports, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1. However, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing and now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.
Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.
As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.
What's in Andy's bag?
Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)
3-wood: TaylorMade M1 (15°)
Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)
Irons: Callaway Apex Pro '19 (4-PW)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)
Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2.5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
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