Date: March 22, 2019
Author: Mark Hayes

Aussie form stands LPGA test

Australians – and Australian form – held up well today as the LPGA Tour resumed in Arizona.

Last month’s Vic Open champion Celine Boutier, of France, carved out a spectacular eight-under-par 64 to lead the Founders Cup in Phoenix by a stroke.

And on a day of hot scoring, all five Australian women in the field fired sub-par scores to stay in touch in the first LPGA Tour event in three weeks.

Led by Katherine Kirk’s impressive 68, Su Oh and Hannah Green each fired 69 to position themselves in the top 25, while Sarah Jane Smith and Minjee Lee carded a pair of 71s.

Boutier, whose breakthrough LPGA victory came at 13th Beach in early February, made eight birdies in her round to head off five women on 65, including Women’s Australian Open runner-up Jin Young Ko.

The group at seven under also included Ko’s Korean countrywoman Na Yeon Choi, the former world No.2 who made her return to tournament golf after nearly a year off with a debilitating back injury.

On the US PGA Tour, it’s not such a bright story for the Aussie men with only Curtis Luck in red figures at the Valspar Championship in Florida.

Luck carded five birdies in his opening one-under-par 70 to trail joint leaders, American Joel Dahmen and Austrian Sepp Straka by four strokes.

Matt Jones (+2), Rod Pampling (+2), Jason Day (+3), John Senden (+3) and Cam Davis (+4) all have work ahead to reach the weekend’s action.