Date: March 31, 2017
Author: Mark Hayes

Wind stops major in tracks

The Australian contingent hasn't played its way out of the ANA Inspiration, but there's much work to do after the windswept first round was postponed.

Perth's Minjee Lee was the best of the four Aussies at even par when play in the year's first women's major was abandoned for the day at 7pm local time at Rancho Mirage in California.

Lee had peeled off nine consecutive pars to begin her round, but she was already spotting leader Karine Icher five shots and a host of other big names handy starts after the morning groups played in far easier conditions.

Melbourne's Su Oh was the only Australian in the morning phase and had been rolling along nicely at one under through 11 after starting on the 10th hole.

But a double-bogey on the third was followed by two more bogeys on the fourth and fifth and her score of 74 left her seven adrift.

Queenslanders Sarah Jane Smith (+1 through 12) and Karrie Webb (+3 through nine) will return in the morning when the first round is completed.

Frenchwoman Icher, a perennial on leaderboards without ever having won on the LPGA Tour, fired seven birdies against two bogeys to take the lead by one from a host of stars including So Yeon Ryu, Michelle Wie and Korean prodigy Eun Jeong Seong who shot the first ace ever by an amateur in the tournament's long history.

Seong took a dip in the famous Poppie’s Pond on the side of the 18th green after winning the American Junior Golf Association's Mission Hills Desert Junior last year.

She might get the chance for a second dip, especially if she can repeat her six-iron from 165m that dropped for a hole-in-one on the fifth.

The 17-year-old South Korean, who last year became the first player to win both the US Women’s Amateur and US Girls’ Junior in the same year, admitted she enjoyed the Dinah Shore Tournament Course.

“I have good memories of here,” Seong said.

“Not many people were there (to see the ace), but I’m happy.”

Seong’s US Amateur victory earned her exemptions into all five majors. In order to receive those exemptions, she plans to remain an amateur throughout the year and enter LPGA Q-School at year's end.

The 2014 champion Lexi Thompson and Jenny Shin sit T6 at three under, while defending champion Lydia Ko was impressive to reach two under through five holes when play was suspended.