RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Lydia Ko was in trouble.
Trying to tie Annika Sorenstam's LPGA Tour record for consecutive rounds under par, the 17-year-old New Zealander was at par with three holes left and stuck behind five large trees to the left of the seventh fairway at Mission Hills Country Club in the Ana Inspiration tournament.
"It was a pretty nasty place to be," Ko said.
To escape, she needed to a hit a big, low hook. She did, with the ball scampering onto the green and stopping pin-high 25 feet to the right.
"I said, 'I'm going to try to hit the biggest hook,' " Ko said. "It would have probably looked really bad, that swing on camera, but it ended up being okay. … I had to hit it low enough and had to hit a slinging hook so I didn't end up in the bunker."
She two-putted for par, then hit a 6-iron to 18 inches on the 158-yard, par-3 eighth to set up the birdie she needed to get under par. She closed with a par on the par-5 ninth for 1-under 71 to match Sorenstam's record of 29 straight rounds under par.
Ko started the streak in the first round of her victory last year in the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship. Sorenstam set the tour mark in 2004.
"I've talked to her a couple of times," Ko said about Sorenstam. "I would love to play with her one day. That would be really cool."
Ko was in a group of 16 at 1 under, four shots behind leader Morgan Pressel. Pressel birdied her final hole for 5-under 67, one shot better than Ai Miyazato.
PGA: Scott Piercy tied a tournament record with 9-under 63 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Houston Open. Alex Cejka was one stroke back at the Golf Club of Houston Tournament Course. J. B. Holmes was next at 65. Phil Mickelson was in a group of four at 66.
Masters: Marc Leishman is in doubt for next week's tournament because his wife, Audrey, is in an induced coma in a Virginia Beach, Va., hospital after getting pneumonia. Leishman, 31, was the PGA Tour rookie of the year in 2009 and won his lone title at the 2012 Travelers Championship. He tied fourth at the 2013 Masters. If Leishman pulls out of the Masters, he won't be replaced.