Ko attempting title defense at Aussie Women's Am

Lydia Ko smiles after her second shot on the 17th hole during the second round of the Canadian Women's Open in Coquitlam, Canada.

It’s summer in Australia, which means World No. 1 amateur Lydia Ko is making headlines Down Under instead of in the U.S. Ko, 15, of New Zealand, was a co-medalist Wednesday in stroke-play qualifying for the Australian Women’s Amateur and has advanced through the first stage of match play.

Ko, whose biggest 2012 victories included the U.S. Women’s Amateur at the LPGA’s Canadian Women’s Open, shot 4-under 140 at Commonwealth Golf Club in Melbourne and tied Grace Lennon of Victoria. Lennon received the top seed while Ko is playing with the No. 2 seed on the match-play bracket. Ko is the defending champion.

Ko defeated New South Wales’ Jessica Dengate, 6 and 5, in Thursday’s first round, and will meet Victoria’s Jo Charlton in the second round.

Among the players who also advanced to the second round of match play are Australian Minjee Lee, the 2012 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion, and Meghan Stasi, a Florida native who won her fourth U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur title last year.

The Australian Men’s Amateur also is being contested this week in Melbourne. The top two seeds, No. 1 Brady Watt and No. 2 Todd Sinnott, both fell in the first round of match play.

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