Date: April 28, 2017
Author: Mark Hayes

Kirk ace kickstarts charge

It takes something special to win on the LPGA Tour these days – so maybe Katherine Kirk took the first big step today.

Queenslander Kirk drilled a stunning hole-in-one today as she charged to a tie for second after round one of the Texas Shootout in Irving.

On a jam-packed leaderboard, Kirk is one of seven players at four under, two behind Korean Mi Jung Hur on a day of good scoring that defied swirling winds.

There was more good news for Australia with Minjee Lee just one shot further back at three under, while the irrepressible Sarah Jane Smith went bogey-free in recording a fine two-under-par 69 to share 18th.

Karrie Webb was otherwise sound, but took a very rare quadruple bogey on the par-three fourth to finish at four-over-par 75, while Su Oh couldn’t  find any momentum and took three double-bogeys en route to a flat 77.

But the fourth hole held no such problems for Kirk.

The Sunshine Coaster had shown no signs of what lay ahead when she began on the 10th hole and turned in even-par 35.

Even a birdie on the first was offset by a bogey on the second and an opportunity went begging on the long third hole.

But in one smooth swing – a punched seven-iron – it all came together for Kirk.

Her third LPGA Tour ace and fifth overall came on the 133m fourth hole of the Las Colinas Country Club, but sadly she didn’t see it drop.

“I hit it so well, so I bent down to pick up the tee, then (someone) in the group said, ‘Get in the hole’, and I’m like, ‘What?’ and it went in,” Kirk said.

“I didn’t even see it, to be honest.”

It proved the catalyst to a late charge, featuring birdies on the fifth and seventh as she raced up the leaderboard.

“I played all right on the (first nine) but just couldn't get anything going,” Kirk said.

“I’m really happy with the start, especially with the conditions this afternoon. We had a bit more breeze I think than the morning did. So yeah, good start.

“Now I’ve got to build on it.”