Ko well poised to make charge at Australian Open

WORLD No.1 Lydia Ko has served notice that she is the player to beat at the Australian Open, shooting a three-under-par 70 at Royal Melbourne yesterday.

The 17-year-old Kiwi was two behind the leader, Il Hee Lee from South Korea.

Ko's only blemish was a bogey five on the par-four 13th, but she hit back immediately by nailing an eagle on the par-five 14th.

Ko (pictured) played in the afternoon's marquee group alongside last year's European Tour order of merit winner, Charley Hull, and Chinese world No.4 Shansheng Feng. Hull made six birdies on the difficult sandbelt layout, but also had two bogeys and a double to finish in a tie for sixth at two-under.

Feng finished with a disappointing one-over-par 74.

Australia's Karrie Webb, chasing her sixth Open title, shot an even-par 73 to be tied for 23rd. Katherine Kirk and Rebecca Artis were the leading Aussies on one under.