Katherine Hull-Kirk has gotten off to a reasonable start in Taiwan.
Three Australians have teed it up in this week’s Sunrise LPGA Taiwan
Championship being played at the Sunrise Golf and Country Club.
Queensland’s Hull-Kirk is the leading Australian at one-over-par after the first round. She started on the 10th tee and played her opening nine holes in two-under-par which was a great score in the difficult conditions. Her two-under included three birdies and one bogey. The two-time LPGA winner couldn’t keep it going and posted another three bogeys in her closing nine holes.
On a day when only five players broke par, it wasn’t a bad score at all for the Queenslander. She is tied for 14th place and still in the mix, as she only trails the leader Suzann Pettersen by five shots. The Norwegian fired a four-under 68 in the challenging conditions.
Pettersen has put herself in position to defend her title as she carded six birdies and two bogeys on Thursday to take a three-stroke lead over Swede Caroline Hedwall, Americans Irene Cho and Alison Walshe, and Karine Icher of France heading into tomorrow’s second-round.
“It was a tough day out there, conditions were not great,” said Pettersen. “I've played this course in nicer conditions. Once the rain stopped, the wind picked up, so I mean, it's your pick, if you want rain or you want wind.”
On a day where only five players were under-par, Pettersen faltered early in her round with a bogey at the second but was able to quickly recover with back-to-back birdies at Nos. 5 and 6.
After an opening 1-under 35 on the front-nine, the birdies began to trickle in for the Norwegian as she recorded three consecutive birdies beginning at the 10th. Pettersen went on to pick-up another birdie at the 15th before giving a shot back with a bogey at the 16th to finish the day at 4-under-par.
The 13-time LPGA Tour winner claimed a three-shot victory at last year’s Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship but despite the win and the impressive opening round on Thursday, Pettersen admitted to feeling a bit uncomfortable with the swirling winds at Sunrise Golf & Country Club.
“I don't know, I don't really feel comfortable around this place because the wind is all over, but I feel pretty good with my game,” said Pettersen. “I feel my ball striking is pretty much where I want it to be. I've got to just be very clear on what I'm trying to do and step up and do it. I hit some great approaches on the back and I hit some good ones on the front.”
Victorian Lindsey Wright is the next best placed Australian, she is at three-over after posting five bogeys and two birdies. Wright is tied for 35th place. Sarah-Jane Smith had a day she would rather forget. The Queenslander carded an 80 to be tied for 73rd position.