Amongst the many highlights of the Oates Victorian Open each February is the discovery of the sport’s future stars and England’s Georgia Hall is no exception.
The 19-year-old finished with consecutive birdies on the beach course and stood tall as this morning’s outright leader by three strokes with a score of 4-under-par.
“The beach course is a hard course; I was playing three clubs more in different situations and played really steady,” said Hall.
“Thankfully I only had two bogeys and while I’ve made more birdies in the past I certainly hadn’t had that many in these (windy) conditions.”
Based in Bournemouth, the teenager was in high spirits when introduced to Golf Australia’s Mark Hayes and immediately revealed her passion for the Australian environment.
“Last year, was my rookie year but I’m getting used to being away from home now,” said Hall.
“I honestly love Australia, it is my favourite place and I was in Sydney a few years ago so to spend three weeks here is fantastic for me,” she added.
A total of seven women tied for second in the morning group however this has not been a distraction for the teenager whose focus is now on the creek course tomorrow.
“I played the other course a couple of days ago and while I think the beach is better I really do like the creek and I’m excited,” she said.
“I’d be so happy to keep this going, particularly with so many amazing names like Laura Davies and Karrie Webb who are great early-tee players.”
The women’s scoreboard has been covered with English talent from top to bottom with Charlotte Ellis closing in at the top while, towards the bottom of the list, Laura Davies DBE unfortunately commenced her campaign with a triple bogey on a par-4 hole.
“I’ve played with both of them in the past two British Open tournaments, Laura and Karrie are really friendly and nice and I knew that if I play the way I can – because I love links golf – I could do a good job today,” said Hall.
While Hall may not be a household name down in Australia, she certainly had a moment to remember in December, 2014 when landing a hole-in-one at the OMEGA Dubai Ladies Masters (video below).
“It was my debut and I managed to win a Mercedes but I couldn’t drive at the time so I took the money instead; the car was worth £40,000 pounds (roughly $81,000 AUD),” Hall laughed.
Earlier this morning reigning women’s champion Marianne Skarpnord also captured her first tournament hole-in-one nearly a year to the day after her partner Richard Green achieved the same feat. Read about Skarpnord's hole-in-one here: http://www.golfvic.org.au/newsdisplay/92113