Photograph courtesy of Tristan Jones photography/ LET
American Amelia Lewis shot a flawless 6 under par round of 65 this morning in today's opening round of the ActewAGL Canberra Classic at Royal Canberra Golf Club to lead the chasing pack heading into the weekend.
In near perfect playing conditions, the 28-year-old from Jacksonville, Florida, carded six birdies and twelve pars and leads by a single shot over Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall, Finland’s Noora Komulainen and Belgian Manon De Roey.
In a 5 way tie for fifth place at -4 are France’s Celine Herbin, Scotland's Carly Booth, Austria's Sarah Schober, Slovenia's Katja Pogacar and reigning NSW Women's Open champion, Englishwoman Megan Maclaren.
West Australian star Hannah Green is a shot further back at three-under par, alongside impressive rookies Esther Henseleit, and Linnea Strom, and Anne Van Dam, Madelene Sagstrom, Yan Liu, Noemi Jimenez Martin, Camille Chevalier and Christine Wolf.
Lewis was relatively slow to start her round before making a pair of birdies on the eighth and ninth holes and picked up another at the 12th and then three more in a row from the 14th to the 16th hole.
She said: “I started off slow and missed some putts but hit some close and eventually made some birdies. Conditions were perfect with not a lot of wind.
“I think the back nine is easier. It’s a little bit more wide open and I really like how the greens roll on the back nine.
“I almost holed my second shot on 16 and I thought it was going in, so I hit a nine-iron to two feet and that was my third birdie in a row. I was kinda feeling it and trying to get a few more coming in.”
She said that she was playing her travel buddy Anne Van Dam for ice cream and the player with the highest score had to pay. “She was probably very confident when she said that. We normally play for dinner.”
Lewis took a few days off to see the sites of Sydney earlier in the week on the way to Canberra from Coffs Harbour. whereas Komulainen took the day off on Thursday.
The Finnish Olympian said: “Yesterday I did something I’ve never done before, I had a day off, one day before the tournament because I felt really tired. I talked with my coach and he said I didn’t need to practise and could take some rest. We went to see some koalas. This morning I felt so calm and relaxed and full of energy.”
The 28-year-old from Tampere made seven birdies in a solid 66, but dropped a shot on the short 17th after twice hitting out of the same bunker.
Last year’s Lacoste Ladies Open de France champion Hedwall made four birdies on the front nine, but dropped shots at 10 and 14 before rallying with three birdies in her last four holes.
Green, who was the runner-up at last week’s Pacific Bay Resort Australian Ladies Classic in Bonville, birdied her first two holes but double bogeyed the 13th to get back to level par. She then birdied the 15th, 18th and first holes but dropped a shot at the fourth, before picking up another shot on her last hole.
Explaining how she made her double bogey, she said: “There are two par fours next to each other and there’s a big hill left, so I hit it down there. It was on a good lie but I mis-clubbed myself and then skinned one out of the bunker and just couldn’t make up and down, so it was a rough start to have two birdies and then a double, but I’m happy with how I played for the rest of the round and I managed to finish under par.”
The reigning champion Jiyai Shin, who is looking for a hat-trick at Royal Canberra, opened with a two-under-par 70 to lie four shots from the lead and is well within striking distance heading into the weekend. When asked about her opening round the world number 25 said cheekily "I am just getting warmed up"
Round 2 action will get underway on Saturday morning at 7:30 am, tickets can be purchased online HERE or at the gate.
Live scoring can be found online HERE
Click HERE for second round tee-times.
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