It was a birdie blitz during today’s opening round of the Women’s Victorian Open being played at Thirteenth Beach Golf Links, Barwon Heads.
Queenslander Sarah Jane Smith leads the way after firing a flawless round of nine-under-par 65 on the Creek course, sitting one shot ahead of another Smith, Western Australian, Kristie. England’s Laura Davies also took advantage of the calmer morning conditions to finish at seven-under-par, while South African Lee-Anne Pace is a further shot back and right in the mix. Sharing fifth position at five-under are American Beth Allen, Queensland’s Tamara Johns and amateur Grace Lennon. ACT’s Nikki Campbell, Swede Sophie Gustafson and New South Wales’ Sarah Kemp are some of the bigger names at four-under.
A total of 29 players were under par after day one.
Sarah Jane Smith started on the 10th and posted birdied on the 13th, 14th, 17th and 18th holes to go out in 33, she then eagled the par 5 second before consecutive birdies on the 4th and 5th holes. Her final birdie came on the par 5 7th to come home in 5 under par.
The 28-year-old has been in fine form in recent weeks, coming off a top 5 result at the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open two weeks ago and a top 20 finish in last week’s ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. After today’s career low round, Smith said she has been happy with her start to 2013.
“Every week it has been slowly getting better and better, so it was nice to have a good round today” Smith said.
“It felt really nice out there, obviously it was pretty calm out there in the morning, so you have to take advantage of that.”
For Kristie, she feels the pressure is off her, ‘I think this week the pressure is off a little and I can just go out here and free wheel it and relax. It is the last event of the ALPG season, so I get to go home next week which I am really looking forward to.”
The relaxed approach was certainly reflected in today’ performance as she recorded an incredible nine birdies and one lone bogey in her round.
Meanwhile, all players will be watching out for Davies, who has gotten off to a great start as well, playing alongside Sarah-Jane Smith. After her round the winner of over 80 titles worldwide spoke about how players can feed off each other during their rounds.
“It is always nice when the person you are playing with is playing well as it drags you along as well. Obviously you want to try and finish ahead of them.” Davies commented.
The women are playing the Creek course for the first two rounds, before the cut is made to the top 50 players and ties. Saturday and Sunday they will join the men over on the Beach course and play in alternate groups.