Many say the Oates Victorian Open is ‘the place where stars are born.’ And for current leader, this could not be more evident.
After posting a remarkable score of 5-under par on day one at Thirteenth Beach Golf Links, the relatively undecorated Sarah-Jane Smith showed her class and held a commanding four stroke lead heading in to the second day of competition this morning.
“I haven’t been too far ahead in the past, but it’s almost like a good feeling I guess – it’s better than being the other way I suppose,” Smith said.
Playing on the Creek course today, the in form Queenslander simply picked up from where she left off yesterday afternoon, recording birdies on the opening two holes.
Showing no signs of pressure, Smith continued her strong long game, scoring five birdies over a round that included only three bogeys. Despite finishing the day at 2-under and 7-under for the first two rounds, Smith said she missed some opportunities, struggling with the speed of the greens.
“I don’t think about being in front a lot, not so far, but that might change over the weekend. Hopefully I stay calm and relaxed,” she said.
“I felt like my pace on the greens was a little off so I’m just going to do a little bit of pace work this afternoon and get a bit more comfortable with that and hopefully it will be good tomorrow.”
Smith battled with consistency in 2013 but has had a solid start to the New Year, finishing in 39th position at last week’s ISPS HANDA Women’s Australian Open.
“Last year was a bit up and down, I had a good start to the season and then a bit of a yucky middle of the season so it was a bit all over the place. That’s what I was really wanting to focus on this year, getting really consistent on everything and so far it’s been a good start.”
While the blustery winds wreaked havoc on scores yesterday, the morning groups welcomed calmer conditions before it started to pick up again throughout the afternoon.
“The wind was getting pretty similar to yesterday so I think the afternoon field is going to have it a bit tougher than we did this morning, but it was definitely a little bit less breezy. It was cold yesterday morning but I think I would trade the wind for the cold,” Smith said.
Playing alongside Smith, well renowned ACT golfer Nikki Campbell also took advantage of the much improved conditions scoring an impressive 6-under for the day. Campbell now sits in fifth place overall at 1-under par after a tough round yesterday.
Smith is well placed to take out her first title of 2014, retaining her position at the top of the overall leaderboard, four strokes ahead of second placed Lindsey Wright, at the half way mark of day two.
The field will be cut to 50 plus ties at the completion of the day.
Visit www.golfvic.org.au for the full draw and all the latest news and tournament updates.
By: Simone McInnes (Golf Victoria Contributor)