Date: January 30, 2009

Hull’s long bombs set pace

source: NZ Women&aposs Open Canadian Open champion Katherine Hull stopped short of saying putting was a simple exercise on the Clearwater greens, but she made it look that way in the opening round of the New Zealand Women’s Open in Christchurch today. One of the drawcards for the inaugural $150,000 Open, Hull, ranked 26th in the world, was red-hot with her putter, taking just 24 putts, in a brilliant seven-under par round of 65 which left her three shots clear of her nearest rival, fellow Australian Sarah Oh. The same pair fought out the finish to the New South Wales Open last Sunday with Oh prevailing by three shots. Equal third on three-under 69 were the leading amateur, 14-year-old Aucklander Cecilia Cho, experienced Australian professional Karen Lunn, and young Korean professional Yeon Song Kim. Thirteen professionals and two amateurs in a field of 106 bettered the par of 72 with the early starters experiencing excellent conditions while those further down the field had to contend with a swirling wind Hull was always in touch with the leaders on the easier front nine after three birdies in the first six holes, but she had her only bogey of the round when she dunked her approach shot to the par-4 eighth green in water. There were no such mistakes on the back nine where most of the water comes into play, and with Hull holding the greens to ransom she had five birdies, including four consecutively from the 14th, in a back nine of 31. “I thought the back nine was more difficult going into today s round, but obviously a hot putter helps the score, said the 27-year-old Queenslander who was buoyed by a long-range birdie putt on the first hole. “I holed one from the front fringe from 45 feet and then on the par-3 16th made one from close to 55 feet so that was two bombs, Hull said, adding that conditions were perfect and the greens very true. Round 1 Leaders 1 HULL, Katherine AUS 65 2 OH, Sarah AUS 68 T3 CHO, Cecilia(a) NZL 69 T3 LUNN, Karen AUS 69 T3 KIM, Yeon Song KOR 69 T6 PACE, Lee-Anne SA 70 T6 FANKHAUSER, Mollie USA 70 T6 HARVEY, Nancy CAN 70 T6 KEATING, Stacey(a) AUS 70 T10 CAUDAL, Anne-Lise FRA 71 T10 NOCERA, Gwladys FRA 71 T10 WESTERBERG, Johanna SWE 71 T10 EBERL, Martina GER 71 T10 NICHOLSON, Sarah NZL 71 T10 DOOLAN, Wendy AUS 71