Meet Hye Park – the 15-year-old who obliterated the field during the opening round of the Australian Girls’ Championship today.
The RACV Royal Pines talent was stunning throughout her round, recording seven birdies on the front nine and at one point reaching 10 under through 15.
She finished with an eight-under-par round of 65, a course record and good for a momentous five-shot lead over her closest competitor, Korean Min A Yoon.
A series of five birdies from the 3rd to 7th on the River course at Coolangatta-Tweed Heads provided steady momentum for Park – known as Aria to her friends – to begin her round.
The Korean-born player, who relocated to Australia three years ago, credits her finely-tuned driver and hot putter as the keys to her early success.
“My putting was so great, so I wasn’t that nervous,” the 15-year-old said.
“I am so happy but the last two holes really annoyed me.”
Bogies on 16 and 17 were the only real blemish for Park when her putter momentarily turned cold, lipping out both par putts.
“I chipped it a bit long then I missed the putts.”
Currently ranked world No.182 and Australia’s 10th highest player, the Year 9 student first tasted success at the Queensland Amateur two years when she won as at the tender age of 14.
Yoon, the defending Victorian Junior Masters and Junior Open champion, holds outright second place after a fine three-under 70 to start the 72-hole event.
Concord product Belinda Ji was impressive with three birdies either side of the turn, but four bogies halted her move up the leaderboard for outright third.
Piper Stubbs and Kamyrn Dunemann each enjoyed aces, on the 7th and 17th respectively.
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