On a very cold and windy day at 13th Beach Golf Links Sarah Jane Smith played an extraordinary round of golf and will take a commanding four shot lead into the second round of the Oates Victorian Open.
With winds gusting upwards of 40-50 km/hr, the Queenslander fired an amazing 5-under-par 69 on the very challenging Beach course. Her round included four birdies and one bogey on the outward nine, and another three birdies and one bogey on the way in.
England’s Laura Davies, Victorian Lindsey Wright and Victorian amateur Su Oh share second position at one-under-par. All three played the Creek Course during round one. A further shot back is the defending champion Stacey Keating, reigning Australian amateur champion Minjee Lee, American Hannah Jun and Canadian LPGA player Lorie Kane. Western Australian Kristie Smith and France’s Joanna Klatten round out the top 10 at one-over.
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With only four women professional breaking par, her score was unbelievable. Afterwards she said “It felt really good out there, actually without sounding stupid, it felt like I left a couple out there. I left three 10 foot birdie putts a couple of inches short in the heart. That was a bit frustrating, but apart from that I couldn’t be happier.”
With regards to the wind and how she managed her way around, the 29-year-old gave credit to her husband and caddie Duane.
“Obviously I am lucky I have Duane on the bag, he really helped me a lot with different club selections. On some holes I hit 3 or 5 wood when I would normally take driver, so it took a lot of extra thinking, but I really enjoy playing in the wind.”
History is somewhat repeating itself, as Smith also held the first round lead last year, but the margin was only one shot. Smith will play her second round on the Creek Course, the course where she shot 63 in the first round.
Smith will be looking over her shoulder tomorrow, with the likes of Wright, Davies, Lee and co wanting to catch her. The trio were out early on the Creek Course and the conditions were not pleasant. Temperature was below 10oC and when the strong south westerly winds were taken into the equation it felt a lot colder than that.
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LPGA tour player, Wright, pin pointed her putting as the strength to her round, “In the conditions, I putted really, really well. I didn’t have a three-putt, which I was really happy with that in those conditions.”
“I’m hitting the ball really solid, and my confidence in my putting has really picked up a lot. I’m really positive. I think its five weeks’ work and just playing tournaments and that makes a big difference.”
At the conclusion of tomorrow second round, the cut will be made to the leading 50 professionals plus ties and any amateurs within the cut line.