Date: January 17, 2017
Author: Mark Hayes

#AusAm: Lee sets record for the ages


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There are course records, then there’s what Ga-Young Lee did in the Australian Amateur Championship, presented by Swinging Skirts, today.

The Korean obliterated the Peninsula-Kingswood club’s Kingswood course record with a breath-taking 10-under-par 63 to lead by five after the first of two qualifying rounds of stroke play.

In the afternoon field at nearby Yarra Yarra, a rash of late birdies enabled Queenslander Karis Davidson and Tasmanian Georgia Milbourne to sign for 69s to grab a share of fifth on a day dominated by Lee and her Korean compatriots who own the top four places and have two more at four under.

It’s easy to say Lee's mark sounds good, but before you dismiss it as just another number, consider this as background.

Lee’s round whipped a staggering four shots off the previous record; that mark had been held by Australian Olympian and LPGA Tour star Su Oh; and when that mark was set, Kingswood played 200m shorter than it did today and Oh was a member.

Oh, and did we mention she’s just 17?

Sure, we have to take into consideration the relative difficulty of Kingswood against nearby Yarra Yarra, where many of the top Australian chances played this afternoon.

But Lee, the reigning NSW Amateur champion after a successful visit last summer, also played in gustier morning conditions and showed a clean pair of Niblicks to even her vaunted national teammates, the holders of the world Espirito Santo trophy and Asia’s Queen Sirikit Cup.

Lee, whose goal is to turn professional and play on the Japanese LPGA Tour, turned in an impressive four-under 32.

But her round really took off when she made six birdies in seven holes from the 12th to come home in seven-under 31.

It’s eye-popping golf, by any standard.

And when you consider Lee is the eighth-ranked Korean in the world standings, it’s hard to comprehend the depth of talent being produced by our northern neighbours.

For the record, world No.4 Hye-jin Choi fired a 68 to sit T2, while reigning US Amateur and US Girls’ Amateur – yes, both – and world No.11 Eun Jeong Seong signed for a 69.

It’s going to be a tough week for the Aussie girls on home soil.

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Men: Live scores & tee times  
Women: Live scores & tee times