Date: August 31, 2018
Author: Mark Hayes

Aussie women to the fore … again

Another week on the LPGA Tour and another bunch of Australian women in contention.

That's how it appears in Oregon today as all six Aussies in the Cambia Portland Classic fired sub-par rounds to sit pretty after round one.

Powerhouse West Australian Minjee Lee again led the way with a stupendous eight-under-par 64 to sit in a share of second behind American Marina Alex (-10) and alongside Canadian Brooke Henderson.

But also firmly in the picture again is Victorian Su Oh, who, a week after sharing fourth with Lee in the Canadian Open, carded a fine 66 to share fifth.

Perth's Hannah Green (-3), Coonabarabran's Rebecca Artis (-2) and Sunshine Coasterers Katherine Kirk (-2) and Sarah Jane Smith (-1) also fared well on the Columbia Edgewater Country Club layout.

Lee, 22, already a winner this year and sitting third on the tour's Race to the CME Globe standings, began as if shot out of a cannon, with six birdies in her first seven holes having started on the 10th.

"I had a really fast start. I think I made five birdies in a row … I was really hitting it close," she said.

"It was a combination of everything. Most of the day I struck it pretty well with my iron shots. I had pretty good control of the yardages. And I hit some solid putts."

A bogey up the ninth was the only negative mark on the scorecard which featured an incredible nine birdies.

Oh was equally at home in perfectly still conditions, cashing in on her recent good form.

"Momentum definiteliy helps, if you beuild confidence and when you play well a few weeks in a row, you feel solid and in contention a lot and it's a good spot to be," she said.

"The weather was perfect and the scoring conditions were perfect and I'm glad I made the most out of it."

In a sign of her growing standing on the tour, Oh was paired with the equally red-hot Henderson and the pair combined for 15 birdies – and only an errant tee shot as an American fighter jet flew overhead on the short 13th cost Oh a share of fourth.

Green, also growing in confidence, didn't endure a bogey, while Kirk made four birdies in six holes on the back nine after two earlier bogeys to scythe through the field.