WOBURN, England, July 29 (Reuters) - Lydia Ko, faced with the embarrassing prospect of missing the cut at the Ricoh Women's British Open on Friday, showed why she is the world's number one golfer by delivering the goods when it mattered.
The South Korean-born New Zealander was two-over-par for the tournament with four holes of her second round remaining but birdies at the 15th and 16th mean she is almost certain to be around for the weekend at the fourth women's major of the year.
"Those birdies really gave me some breathing room going down the last two holes," Ko told reporters after a two-under 70 gave her a level-par aggregate of 144.
"I didn't hit the ball very well today...not many putts were falling...but I tried to stay positive until the end. I just tried to keep chipping away," she added.
"Going into today my goal was to play all four days so I think goal number one is accomplished."
Ko said the Marquess Course at Woburn was a difficult test for the players and could not believe clubhouse leader Lee Mi-rim (71) of South Korea was flying high at 11-under.
"I don't know what course she is playing right now but I think it's all about the putting here," Ko said.
"It's really undulating and if you put yourself on the wrong slope you could end up having a putt that almost breaks 90 degrees. If they fall it's almost like a two-shot swing."
Ko played alongside local favourite Charley Hull, who is on five-under-par, for the second day running and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of performing in front of a sizeable crowd.
"For this many people to come out to watch, it's great," said the 19-year-old Kiwi. "They love watching her here especially at a club she's played at for a long time.
"For her to play good golf and for there to be a lot of people, I think it's double the fun." (Editing by Ed Osmond)