Ko equals Annika’s mark

Lydia Ko rallied on her back nine to shoot 1-under-par 71 and tie Annika Sorenstam’s record of 29 consecutive sub-par rounds on the LPGA Tour in the first round of the ANA Inspiration on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage.

The 17-year-old from New Zealand, who is No. 1 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, started at No. 10 and birdied three of her first five holes, but also carded four bogeys to make the turn in 1-over 37.

“I’ve talked to (Sorenstam) a couple of times,” Ko said after tying the record. “I would love to play with her one day. That would be really cool.”

Then she played the front in a bogey-free 2-under 34, with birdies on the second and eighth holes. After saving par at No. 7, where she drove into the trees, Ko hit her tee shot from 158 yards on the next hole to within 18 inches of the cup to set up a birdie-2.

Ko actually has played 32 consecutive rounds under par, including the last three in her victory early this season in the New Zealand Women’s Open on the Ladies European Tour.

Sorenstam, the Swedish star who dominated the game for several years before retiring in 2008 to raise a family, was in the Golf Channel booth as an analyst when Ko equaled the record she set in 2004.

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