Making her 2016 debut, SooBin Kim from South Korea fired a stellar bogey-free 63 to take a three shot lead following the first round of the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. The Aussies are also in the mix and a host of drawcards are looming large. Throw in huge galleries at The Grange, and the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open is perfectly poised after a spectacular opening day. “I was just picking my line and rolling them in, let the ball do the rest,” Kim beamed. “My coach (Brian Jung) were joking around and saying, ‘Let’s make 20 birdies this week’, and I said ‘Yeah, I like that idea, let’s keep it rolling’.” Her lead is three shots over American Casey Grice and German Caroline Masson, with no fewer than five players at five under, including evergreen five-time champion Karrie Webb and 1996 champion Catriona Matthew.

Webb, like Matthew and Masson, defied the afternoon breeze that was nowhere to be seen when the morning groups took full toll of the breathless conditions.

The Queensland legend’s round included six birdies, one of which, at the par-four sixth, she counted as spectacular. Stymied behind trees, she swerved it up to 4m, then rolled the putt in for a three.

“I probably made the best birdie of my career on six,” she said.

Asked if she would have taken a 67 at the start of the day, she said: “Yes. I would’ve stayed in my hotel.”

Australia’s top-ranked player Minjee Lee began with a 69, the same as her long-time mate Su Oh and one better than Stacey Keating, whose five back-nine birdies were outstanding late in the day.

World No.1 Lydia Ko carded a 70 to match Canadian sensation Brooke Henderson and England’s Charley Hull, while world No.9 Ha Na Jang was happy to open with a 69.

Home favourite Minjee Lee and defending champion Lydia Ko sit six and seven shots back of SooBin Kim’s lead entering the second round of the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.

“It was pretty steady out there, I didn’t have any major blow-out mistakes so I’m happy with my three under starting here at the Open,” Lee said.

Lee had five birdies against two bogeys on her card while Ko had four birdies and two bogeys.

“Yeah, I think probably had two real loose shots and I actually had to put myself in position the next time,” Ko said. “But overall I think I played pretty solidly. Not many putts dropped today but a lot of them were hitting the edges. And I think I’m putting a good stroke on it and, at the end of the day, that’s all I can do.”

In all, there were 71 players at par or better with the halfway cut to be made tomorrow night with the top 70 and ties.

The average score on day one was 72.8 and the second round begins tomorrow at 7.10am (Central Daylight Time).

A full wrap of stories and videos from day one are available at www.womensausopen.com and www.youtube.com/GolfAust, Golf Australia’s YouTube channel.

 

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