March 25, 2016 / 3:13 AM / 3 years ago

Park among co-leaders, Ko one back at Kia Classic

South Korea's In-bee Park plays her second shot on the first hole during the second round of the British Women's Open Golf tournament at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, northern England, September 15, 2012. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis

(Reuters) - South Korean Park In-bee produced a bogey-free five-under 67 to join Ai Miyazato, Brittany Lang and Jodi Ewart Shadoff at the top of the Kia Classic leaderboard on Thursday, with world number one Lydia Ko a shot behind after a strong back nine.

Ko, who teed off at the 10th, struggled on her front nine and made the turn at one-over, but she turned it around on with a sizzling inward half, picking up five birdies to post a four-under 68 in the first round in Carlsbad, southern California.

Ko said the lush rough and firm, fast greens had provided a stiff test.

“I was striking the ball really good but I just couldn’t get any putts rolling (early),” she told reporters. “But It was good to see a couple drop on my back nine.

“I was in the rough a few times. The rough is lush. The club just turns over. If you’re getting a good lie you’re getting lucky. That’s why it’s important to hit it along the fairways.”

Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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