Date: February 03, 2017
Author: ALPG

Teens surge at Royal Pines

Indian sensation Aditi Ashok has continued her remarkable rise, co-leading the ALPG's Gold Coast Challenge after round one.

Ashok joined local amateur Karis Davidson and Scotland's Michelle Thomson atop the leaderboard with impressive rounds of three-under-par 70 in stifling conditions at Royal Pines.

Ashok, at 18 already the highest ranked player in the field, is coming off a sparking rookie of the year season with two wins on the Ladies European Tour.

"I am really happy with my start to the tournament," she beamed after six birdies in her closing 10 holes after an indifferent start.

"I made six birdies, so I obviously created enough chances. I did make a few mistakes and I will be trying hard not to do that tomorrow."

Ashok rated the conditions even tougher than those at home in Bangalore.

"I love playing golf in the hot weather, I enjoy it much more than the cold. But this is a little more humidity than I am used to."

Davidson, a member at nearby Sanctuary Cove and who also played in the morning, agreed the conditions were testing.

"Even for me being a local I found the conditions really tough today," she said.

The young Queenslander, Australia’s leading female amateur, was a little more consistent than fellow 19-year-old with four birdies and just a single bogey at the difficult par-four 13th.

"I played really well today and really didn’t make too many mistakes. I just tried to really enjoy myself out there today and will just try to keep doing the same things for the rest of the week."

Thomson, 28, battled the afternoon breezes and high temperatures to join the lead, mixing four birdies with a single bogey at the par-four fourth hole.

Just one shot behind the leaders lies a group of players including LPGA star Katherine Kirk, another Gold Coast amateur Rebecca Kay and Thai stars Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras and Prima Thammaraks.

The top-ranked Australian in the field, Sarah-Jane Smith, recovered after a slow start to shoot an even-par 73, while Dame Laura Davies also started poorly but battled back to shoot 74.