Ko (65) makes first career ace, joins gold medal race


RIO DE JANEIRO – The closest Lydia Ko had come to recording a hole-in-one in her career, either in a tournament or otherwise, was during a practice round ... sort of.

Ko said she holed out for double bogey on a par 3 once, “only made a fifth of a hole-in-one,” she smiled.

On Friday at Olympic Golf Club she finally got on the board, rolling in her tee shot at the par-3 eighth hole from 140 yards with a 7-iron. That the ace helped her vault up the leaderboard at the women’s Olympic competition was an added bonus for the world No. 1.

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“I would have loved to like done a dance or jumped up and down, but that situation, I think I was almost trying to cry, and then I realized, hey, I've got 11 more holes,” said Ko, who shot a third-round 65 in blustery conditions to move into a tie for second in Rio.

Ko’s hole-in-one was the highlight of a front nine filled with must-see moments. The New Zealander started her day with a birdie at the first and added two more at Nos. 5 and 6 before her ace at the eighth hole on her way to a front-nine 29.

In a testament to how demanding the conditions were on Day 3 when winds gusted to 35 mph, Ko said her even par closing nine was almost as impressive as her opening loop.

“I feel like I shot under par on the back nine, even though I shot even par,” she said. “Even though I did shoot even, some of the pars out there, I felt like I made birdies.”