by Andrew Spence
AUSTRALIAN Katherine Kirk will take a two shot lead into the second round of the ISPS Handa Australian Open ahead of the USA’s Marissa Steen and Jane Park.
Steen and Park both shot 6-under 67s in the first round of the ISPS Handa Australian Open earlier today to be tied for second with Taiwan’s Min Lee and South Korea’s Chella Choi
Canadian teenager Brooke Henderson opened with a 4-under 69 while Michelle Wie, who is using a new Claw Grip this week, carded a 3-under 70. World No1. Lydia Ko is a further shot back at -2.
A calm morning in South Australia turned into a breezy afternoon, making conditions more difficult for players with later tee times.
Steen said the bogey-free 67 had put her in a strong position to attack the remaining three rounds.
“I didn’t trip once. I either hit every green or was right on the fringe where I was still able to putt, so I gave myself a lot of chances and took advantage when I had wedges in my hands,” the world No. 349 said.
“So, I put myself in good position and so now it’s just fun, right, no pressure, just go out and make birdies.”
Steen and Park will both play in the afternoon tomorrow, when the predicted winds are expected to make conditions more challenging.
Park was married less than two weeks ago in a City Hall ceremony.
“I actually had some good vibes going into this week,” she said.
“I’ve worked really hard on my game and trying my best to stay positive.
“I’ve had some struggles of late, so it’s been nice to see some putts go in – it was a fantastic day.”
Kirk birdied four of the first five holes on her way to a bogey-free 65 in calm conditions around the links-style Par 73 Royal Adelaide Course.
“The goal will be to keep going tomorrow and hopefully put a good weekend together,” the 34-year-old said
The news wasn’t so good for crowd favorite and five-time Australian Open champion Karrie Webb, who shot a 3-over 76.