ing galleries and red-hot golf have ushered in the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.
Under clear skies and in breathless conditions, a rash of red numbers has spread across the leaderboard early, including world No.9 Ha Na Jang and top-ranked Australian Minjee Lee, both of whom have turned in two under par.
The only surprise in the marquee morning match, which began on the 10th tee, was that world No.1 Lydia Ko battled a couple of wayward drives and a cold putter to turn in one-over-par 37.
But it mattered not to the throng of fans at The Grange, welcoming back elite women’s golf to Adelaide for the first time since 1994.
With most of the morning phase of players through or approaching nine holes, the crowds witnessed a birdie avalanche with five players at three under early.
No fewer than 13 players were at two under, including Lee, Jang, leading Aussie amateur Hannah Green and former world No.1 Jiyai Shin.
So well was the field going that 55 of the 78 players stood at par or better after two and a half hours.