FOLLOW THE TOURNAMENT:
England’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff has seized the early lead in the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open with a bogey-free first round of 65 at The Grange.
Ewart Shadoff, 31, a seven-year LPGA Tour player, backed up her top-10 finish at the ISPS Handa Vic Open with a brilliant opening round in perfect conditions in Adelaide.
But Australian veteran Karrie Webb is nicely-poised after opening with a superb five-under par 67.
Webb set the early tone with four birdies on the back nine having started from the 10th tee.
But capitalising on her early tee time and the lack of wind, Ewart Shadoff reached seven-under through 13 holes before parring her way in. She made birdies at the first and fourth holes, then four on the trot from the seventh and another from long range at the par-five 13th.
Ewart Shadoff is ranked 59th in the world and has made steady improvement in recent years without winning a tournament as a professional. She has twice represented Europe in the Solheim Cup.
As for Webb, she is back to something approaching her best despite not even playing as a full-time professional since 2017. She spent four months in Australia last year at her Townsville home base, and when she teed it up last week in Barwon Heads it was her first competitive outing for almost eight months.
The big galleries at The Grange were drawn to her as they waited for world No. 1 Ariya Jutanugarn to tee off in the afternoon.
Ewart Shadoff leads by two shots from Webb at five-under with last year’s champion, South Korea’s Jin-Young Ko, and Moriya Jutanugarn at four-under.
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Veteran five-time champion Karrie Webb has set the crowds alight with a stunning start to the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.
The 44-year-old Webb, who now plays part-time, rolled in four birdie putts on the back nine, having started on the 10th hole, to take the lead in the $US1.3 million tournament at The Grange in superb conditions this morning.
Taking advantage of a windless morning, World Golf Hall of Famer Webb made a nice chip and putt birdie on the par-five 13th hole, then hit it close at the par-three 14th for another birdie. After a lip-out birdie putt at the 15th, she hit it close again at the par-four 16th and rolled in the putt from five metres, and repeated the exercise at the 16th, hitting it to two metres.
At this point she was four-under par and in the outright lead, but she was soon joined by Jodi Ewart Shadoff of England, who had made four birdies in her opening eight holes.
Webb won previous national Opens in 2000, 2002, 2007, 2008 and 2014.
New South Wales amateur Doey Choi was another to jump out early, reaching three-under and a share of the lead at one point, but she dropped shots at the 10th and 11th holes.
World No. 1 Ariya Jutanugarn is due to tee off at 12.34pm.
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Sydney teenager Doey Choi has begun her LPGA Tour career in sparkling touch, jumping to a share of the early lead at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open in Adelaide.
Choi, who turned 19 earlier this week, an amateur representing Concord Golf Club, put aside any nerves in her national championship debut to birdie the long first and followed with another on the par-five fifth.
She shares the lead with American Sarah Schmelzel, Puerto Rican Maria Torres and world No.19 Moriya Jutanugarn in perfect conditions for scoring at The Grange Golf Club.
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The players on the course and the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open is under way at The Grange in Adelaide.
Perfect conditions greeted the players on the west course as the first groups teed off at 7am, led away by two young girls from the My Golf participation program.
Australia’s top-ranked player Minjee Lee is due on the course at 7.55am, in the group behind veteran Karrie Webb, the five-time winner.
Canadian Alena Sharp made a rip-roaring start to the tournament with an eagle three at the par-five 10th hole, her first for the day, but sadly gave it all back on the next hole with a double-bogey.
On a windless morning, the players will expect to make plenty of birdies.
World No.1 Ariya Jutanugarn, from Thailand, tees off at 12.34pm today.
The Open, worth $US1.3 million, is part of the LPGA Tour.