Defending champ Ko among co-leaders in Canada

Lydia Ko during the first round of the 2013 Canadian Women's Open at Royal Mayfair in Edmonton, Alberta.
Lydia Ko during the first round of the 2013 Canadian Women's Open at Royal Mayfair in Edmonton, Alberta. ( Associated Press )

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Amateur Lydia Ko opened her Canadian Women's Open championship defense with a 65 to tie for the lead alongside Christel Boeljon – who notched an ace down the stretch Thursday – and Angela Stanford at 5 under during Thursday's first round at Royal Mayfair in Edmonton, Alberta.

Boeljon earned her hole-in-one at No. 16 with a 9 iron from 126 yards out. She birdied Nos. 15 and 17 on either side of it to move into a share of the lead.

"I only realized it by the lady that was behind the green that put her hands up, and I was like, 'I guess it's in.' We couldn't see with the sun," Boeljon said. "Everyone was high-fiving, so we got up to the hole, and we see it's in. It helps your score out a lot."

Ko birdied Nos. 1, 3, 5 and 7 to spark her round.

"When I start off with a birdie I haven't really played that well, so yeah, I was kind of nervous that I did make a birdie on the first," Ko said.

"Because you're the defending champion, people are going to expect more," she said. "I called my dad a couple of days ago and he just said, 'Relax. You can't control everything. Just play the game that you want to play.' "

Stanford scattered her birdies amid a bogey-free round to bounce back from an 0-4 Solheim Cup performance.

"I'm the one that it's probably haunting the most. So it's been really hard," she said, "I thought about going home a few times. ... The best thing was for me to get back on the horse. I had to get out and play and I guess just try to put it behind me."

Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr shot 66s to stand one back of the co-leaders.

World No. 1 Inbee Park birdied four of six holes around the turn to open at 3 under, T-6 alongside Na Yeon Choi, Karine Icher and Canadian Jennifer Kirby.

"The course dried out a lot, so it played a little bit shorter than it did in the practice round," Park said. "I was hitting a little bit shorter irons, so I was able to attack some pins and I was able to make more birdies than I thought I could have made out there. I putted really good out there today, so I feel really good about it."

European Solheim Cup hero Caroline Hedwall was among 10 players who opened at 2 under, good for T-10.

Charley Hull, another European Solheim Cup standout, opened at 1 under to stand T-20 alongside a dozen others, including Suzann Pettersen.

"I played pretty solid," Hull said. "I just hit one on 17 and then I missed a silly little putt on 18. . . . I'm feeling pretty happy with my game and just going to practice some short putts after for a bit."

World No. 2 and reigning Women's British Open champion Stacy Lewis bogeyed five of her first seven holes en route to a 4-over 74 that didn't help put the U.S. Solheim Cup behind her.

"I played terrible all day," Lewis said. "I didn't make any putts. I didn't hit the ball very good and the start just didn't help. I was tired out there. Mentally, I wasn't in it. Just coming off the last week is still tough."

– The Associated Press contributed. readers: We value your input and welcome your comments, but please be respectful in this forum.