Jiyai Shin’s round of 65 over the revamped layout providing the South Korean with a two shot lead over the leading world ranked player in the field Minjee Lee, Norway’s Karoline Lund and Germany’s Leticia Ras-Anderica.
The 39 year old Shin, who won the 2013 Women’s Australian Open at Royal Canberra, played early on day one of the 54 hole event and took full advantage of the early draw with eight birdies in her first 15 holes before a bogey at her 16th hole slowed things a little but it was still an outstanding start.
“I started with a birdie on 10, which gave me a lot of confidence,” said Shin. “I played in the Pro-Am yesterday and saw a lot of difference to when I played here in 2013.
“The course has changed a lot and they have made it harder. It also made me focus on my play and that worked pretty well today.
“It (the Australian Open win) was five years ago but it doesn’t feel like that. I have been quite busy the last few days, so it made me relaxed and I’m enjoying this tournament. I started at eight o’clock this morning and a lot of people came out to watch us, so I really appreciate that.”
Lee is coming off the back of her emphatic win at the Oates Victorian Open last week and played with Shin today. Birdies at three of her final four holes saw her close within two of Shin and she looms as perhaps the leader’s greatest threat over the final 36 holes.
As is often the case there was little to take from her press-conference but the classy West Australian will no doubt let the clubs do her talking over the weekend.
Royal Canberra's finishing hole
Lund is in her first year as a professional having only just qualified for the Ladies European Tour. She recorded a solid 14th place finish at last week’s Victorian Open so she is clearly well above average and the start to her professional career would suggest as much.
Ras-Anderica began her morning round with a bogey but recovered well to move to into a share of the second place. She might be German but the 23-year old has a strong Canberra connection her father having gown up in the Australian capital.
“My dad, John Ras, was born in England, brought up in Canberra and grew up here,” said Ras-Anderica. “He lives in Spain but he’s come here to see me, so it’s good to have him here. This feels like home to him.
“I had been to Royal Canberra to practice every now and then ever since we’ve had tournaments in Australia. My dad walked around with me today and brought all his friends along.”
SIGNATURE HOLE TWIN CREEKS
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