Wellington - World number 206 Belen Mozo hit a hole-in-one
as she eclipsed a field including home favourite Lydia Ko to take a five-shot
lead at the New Zealand Women's Open on Friday.
Spain's Mozo blew away her competitors to card an
eight-under 64, ending the second round at Windross Farm with an aggregate
score of 130.
The 29-year-old, who has only four top-10 finishes in her
seven years as a pro, sank eight birdies and aced the par-three 13th hole.
The only blemish on an exceptional round was a double bogey
on the 17th that allowed the chasing pack to close the gap slightly heading
into the weekend.
First-round leader Brooke Henderson of Canada was in a
three-way tie for second on 135, along with American Emily Tubert and Madelene
Sagstrom of Canada.
New Zealand's Ko shot a four-under 68 to finish on 138 for a
share of 12th place after a credible performance that still lacked her former
The defending champion held the number one ranking for 85
consecutive weeks but lost it in July.
Ko has not won an LPGA tournament since July last year, and
is currently ranked eighth in the world.
But the 20-year-old defending champion said she still had a
chance of winning on her home turf.
"This is a course where if the winds are calm you could
go really low," she said.
"You just never know until that last ball drops for the
champion on Sunday, I'm going to play my heart out."
The $1.3 million tournament is being held at the new
Windross Farm course south of Auckland.
It was previously co-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour,
with Ko winning in 2016, 2015 and 2013.
Leading scores after the second round of the LPGA's New Zealand Women's Open at Auckland's Windross Farm on Thursday (par 72):
130 - Belen Mozo (ESP) 66-64
135 - Emily Tubert (USA) 70-65, Madelene Sagstrom (SWE) 68-67, Brooke Henderson (CAN) 65-70
136 - Thidapa Suwannapura (THA) 70-66, Jing Yan (CHN) 70-66, Mariajo Uribe (COL) 68-68, Amy Boulden (WAL) 66-70
137 - Pernilla Lindberg (SWE) 69-68, Beatriz Recari (ESP) 67-70, Na Yeon Choi (KOR) 67-70
138 - Lydia Ko (NZL) 70-68, Selin Hyun (KOR) 73-65, Bronte Law (ENG) 72-66, Pavarisa Yoktuan (THA) 69-69, Nontaya Srisawang (THA) 69-69, Jodie Ewart Shadoff (ENG) 65-73