Date: February 19, 2015
Author: Martin Blake

Korean vaults to Open lead


South Korean player Ilhee Lee has vaulted into the early lead in the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open at Royal Melbourne with a string of birdies on the back nine.

Lee, 26, picked up shots at the 10th, 11th, 13th and 15th holes to overtake Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn, the morning front-runner.

The Korean, ranked 59th in the world, plays on the LPGA Tour in the United States, and won a tournament in the Bahamas in 2013. She carded a five-under 68 in perfect scoring conditions on the composite course.

Jutanugarn, 19, opened with a four-under par 69 to take second place in the clubhouse.

Katherine Kirk is the closest Australian at one-under, four shots from the lead, while veteran Karrie Webb is struggling at one-over par.

World No. 1 Lydia Ko is on the course, with good crowds gathering to see the Kiwi who was crowned the world's top player several weeks ago. She teed off at 12.50pm.