Scot Sally Watson felt right at home today in the windy conditions at 13th Beach Links to lead the Oates Victorian Open.
Watson fired a flawless round of four-under-par 69 to sit atop of the leaderboard and one clear of South Australian Stephanie Na, American Beth Allen and Norway’s Marianne Skarpnord.
It was a fantastic round, as not many players signed their score card without at least one bogey on a sunny but windy day at Barwon Heads. What made it even more remarkable was the fact it was her first competitive round of the year and she hadn’t played the course before she teed off.
“I really didn’t know what to expect either because I hadn’t played that golf course before. I just arrived on Monday night from Scotland, played 7.45 pro-am on Tuesday which was a nice little start with like four hours sleep!”
But she was pleased, “Bogey-free round to start the year – it’s kinda nice.”
Watson was one of the few sub-pars in the afternoon field. In the morning, it was relatively calm when the leading groups teed off, but by the end of their round, it was a three club wind difference, which made scoring a lot tougher. Na and Allen both played in the morning.
Stephanie Na teeing off this morning - Barwon Heads
For Na, she was happy with her day, “I guess it was pretty solid, I played well on the par 5’s, other than the first hole (10th). I feel I had a good feel for the greens, good pace, so that helped.”
For Allen is a continuation of her good early season form. Allen defeated Su Oh and Stacey Keating last week in the Pennant Hills ALPG Pro-am.
Keeping with the tag line of the Vic Open “Where Stars are Born” there are two amateur sitting just two off the pace, NSW Elizabeth Elmassian and West Australian Hannah Green. Sharing fifth place with the amateurs is Germany’s Nina Holleder.
Some of the big names are lurking at one-under including 2013 champion Stacey Keating and four-time LPGA winner, Canadian, Lorie Kane, while at even is Victorian Su Oh and NSW’s Rachel Hetherington.
USA's Beth Allen during her round today - Barwon Heads
Unfortunately for crowd favourite Laura Davies, she struggled with a five-over-par to be well back.
Players will play one round on both the Beach and Creek courses before Friday’s cut.