Date: August 30, 2018
Author: Mark Hayes

Kay has Aussies buzzing at worlds

Australia is well placed after a day of great scoring to begin the World Amateur Teams Championship in Ireland.

Led by a superb four-under-par 68 from Queenslander Becky Kay, the Aussie women sit in a share of sixth place after their first of two rounds on the Montgomerie Course, with two others to come on the adjacent O’Meara Course at Carton House, near Dublin.

Australia also used Sydneysider Grace Kim’s round of 73 to count towards a three-under-par total, five behind leader Japan in the race for the Espirito Santo Trophy.

Queenslander Kirsty Hodgkins, in her first senior outing in Australian colours, carded a three-over-par 75.

Japan was powered by a tournament record-equalling 65 by Yuka Yasuda, the winner of the Australian Master of the Amateurs at Royal Melbourne earlier this year.

Similarly, China parked in second place at six under courtesy of a fine 66 from Mohan Du, whose round was even more meritorious given she and her teammates didn’t play a practice round because they arrived late after the weekend’s Asian Games.

Germany, Korea and Austria share third place at four under, one clear of Australia and the host nation, with the United States and Hong Kong a shot further back.

Kay, a member at Coolangatta-Tweed Heads on the Gold Coast, was the star for Australia.

She began nervously with a bogey, but quickly found her stride despite testing conditions to make four birdies in succession from the third.

Another birdie on the par-four 11th hole was enough to put the dual Karrie Webb Scholarship winner into a share of third place on the individual leaderboard.

“It was awesome, I’m really glad considering the tough conditions and strong winds,” Kay beamed afterwards.

“I kept it on the fairway, on the greens and holed the putts I needed to.”

Kay was happy with her team’s position, with Kim in a share of 34th and Hodgkins 62nd after day one.

“(We’re in) a good position to have a few low ones tomorrow and climb the leaderboard,” Kay said.

Kim was a couple under early after birdies on the first and third, but bogeys on the 4th, 5th and 11th holes consigned her to a 73.

Hodgkins, 20, was mostly solid throughout her round with just one bogey through 13 holes, but late blemishes on the 14th and 16th cost her a 75.