Date: May 10, 2017
Author: Martin Blake

Aussies hang tough in China


South Korea has assumed a familiar spot at the top of the leaderboard but Australia is hanging tough after the first day's competition at the Asia Pacific championship played for the Queen Sirikit Cup in China.

The Koreans are at even-par through the first round, with Australia coming in tied-fourth, at five-over at Shuangshan Golf Club.

Queenslander Karis Davidson (two-over) was the leading Aussie on day one, while Rebecca Kay shot three-over par and national team debutant Alizza Hetherington of Victoria carded 11-over.

Davidson, 18, from the Gold Coast,  is tied-sixth in the individual event, just three shots from the lead, after a round that included four birdies and two bogeys.

She later described the course as "the toughest I've played'', lamenting a couple of bad club choices in the wind that cost her shots. "The team led out by Karis performed well in tough conditions,'' said team manager Virginia Irwin. "It is a golf course on which positional play on the green is vital for scoring opportunities. With the greens extremely firm and fast, anything above the hole is a risk.''

Kay touhed out her round and closed birdie-birdie for a good sensation to linger on overnight, while Hetherington began with three early double bogeys and struggled to get back in touch from there.

The best two scores count in the teams competition, leaving Australia at five-over overall.

The Koreans lead by two shots from Japan and China at two-over, with Thailand and Australia at five-over.

Korea has won nine of the last 10 Sirikit competitions, the exception being 2013, when an Australian team led by Minjee Lee won.