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Ko (67) putts better but still trails by plenty

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PHOENIX – Rolex world No. 1 Lydia Ko got her putter working better Friday at the JTBC Founders Cup but will need a big weekend to make a run at winning her first LPGA title this year.

Ko posted a 5-under-par 67 in the morning wave, which left her at 7-under overall, seven shots off the lead with the afternoon wave still out.

Ko needed just 26 putts in a round of seven birdies and a bogey.

“A few more putts dropped than yesterday,” Ko said. “I just have to continue striking the ball well and giving myself opportunities. You can see by the scores, you need to be holing quite a few putts.”

Ko’s only hiccup Friday was a bogey at the 18th, her ninth hole, where she missed a 2-footer.

“I hit it a little too firm, through the break,” Ko said. “I was a little careless with that.”

Ko won the New Zealand Women’s Open last month on the Ladies European and Australasian Ladies tours. She started her LPGA season tying for third at the Coates Golf Championship, finished second at the Women’s Australian Open and tied for 15th at the HSBC Women’s Champions.