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Defending champ Ko tied for lead in Canada

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EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) - Lydia Ko was back on top of the Canadian Women's Open leaderboard.

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The 16-year-old Ko, the winner last year at Vancouver Golf Club at an LPGA Tour-record age of 15 years, 4 months, shot a 5-under 65 on Thursday in perfect conditions at Royal Mayfair for a share of the first-round lead with Angela Stanford and Christel Boeljon.

Ko, the South Korean-born New Zealander, had six birdies and a bogey. She birdied the opening hole, though she figured that might be a bad omen.

``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.

She felt some pressure entering the tournament.

``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 rebounded after going 0-4 last week in the United States' Solheim Cup loss in Colorado.

``Try to take positives from it,'' Stanford said. ``It's hard because I'm the only one that has to live with it. I'm the one that it's probably haunting the most. So it's been really hard. 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.''

The Texan birdied five of the first 12 holes in her bogey-free round.

``I hit it really well today, really solid, and I've been hitting it solid,'' Stanford said. ``Finally the ball found the bottom of the hole a little bit faster. I think if you can keep it in the fairways on this golf course, you'll have chances at birdie.''

Boeljon had a hole-in-one with a 9-iron on the 126-yard 16th hole. The Dutchwoman also had a bogey-free round, playing Nos. 15-17 in 4 under.

``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. Everyone was high-fiving, so we got up to the hole, and we see it's in. It helps your score out a lot.''

U.S. Solheim Cup teammates Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr shot 66.

Top-ranked Inbee Park, a six-time winner this year, was another stroke back at 67 along with fellow South Korean star Na Yeon Choi, France's Karine Icher and Canada's 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.''

Charley Hull, the 17-year-old English player coming off a strong performance last week in Europe's victory, had a 69 playing alongside Ko and Kirby. Hull bogeyed the final two holes.

``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.''

Second-ranked Stacy Lewis opened with a 74, and later withdrew because of illness. The Women's British Open winner in her last stroke-play event, Lewis bogeyed five of her first seven holes.

``I played terrible all day,'' said Lewis, coming off the deflating U.S. loss in the Solheim Cup. ``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.''

Before she withdrew, Lewis was asked if she had anything to work on heading into the second round.

``No, honestly I need to get away from it right now,'' Lewis said. ``Probably the best thing I could do is walk away.''

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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