Kay’s brilliant opening round of 8 under par 64 has her ahead of defending champion, Atthaya Thitikul of Thailand, but despite its brilliance it was a round that had threatened to be even better.
Kay could only par her last six holes after racing to 8 under par through 12 holes but she was still delighted to be leading such a significant event.
“I got off to a good start with a birdie and I guess I just kept it rolling,” said Kay who continues her fine form having won twice in her last four starts in Australia.“ The putts that I needed to make, I made and I hit it close. I just played golf, that’s what I did. I’m really stoked."
“I just wanted to make more birdies. I finished with four birdies on the back nine (her front nine), and I had two early ones on and six pars to finish. I had the opportunities to have more birdies but I’m not complaining.”
Interestingly, Kay is currently ranked 133rd in the World Amateur rankings for women but she is a player good enough to have finished 6th in the Espirito Santo individual contest last year and has a host of high-level performances behind her in both amateur and professional events.
Thitikul started with three birdies in her first four holes and was solid throughout as she hit all 18 greens in regulation. She had a fantastic finish with birdies on the 17th and 18th holes that elevated her to second place and gave her the same starting score as last year.
“Today was really good,” said Thitikul. “Before I started, I thought about last year, and told myself ‘first day, I played so good. I just need to keep patient and have fun on the golf course’.
“It’s my big key… relax and sing a song. I do feel pressure but when I’m out on the golf course, I am not thinking that I need to win again or about the finish. I just go out and enjoy myself and enjoy every moment of the tournament, that’s it.”
Japan’s Riri Sadoyama and Korea’s Yae Eun Hong are tied for 3rd place and two shots from Kay’s lead.
NSW's Grace Kim was the next best of the Australians in 12th place after her round of 2 under par 70.
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