Thursday, February 21, 2019

Joy for Choi at Aussie Ladies Classic

Coffs Harbour, Australia – 21st February 2019: 
Rising New South Wales amateur star Doey Choi, pictured, holds a two-stroke lead after the opening round of the Pacific Bay Resort Australian Ladies Classic – Bonville.
Choi, the reigning Queensland and South Australian women’s amateur champion, fired a brilliant six-under-par 66 to sit two shots clear of Swedish duo Madelene Sagstrom and Daniela Holmqvist at Bonville Golf Resort in Coffs Harbour.
Another Swede, Jenny Haglund, shares fourth with western Australians Hannah Green and Whitney Hillier who played during a morning of light rain. They were later joined by Nuria Iturrios from Spain, who shot a bogey-free 69 in hot and humid conditions.
Choi, 18, from Concord Golf Club in Sydney, reeled off an impressive eight birdies against two bogeys in her first round. She made six birdies against a solitary bogey in her first 11 holes, with her only blemish on the difficult 17th played over water, where she failed to get up and down from over the green.
She bounced back immediately with back-to-back birdies, sinking a solid putt on the long 18th followed by a chip-in on the par-4 first and made further gains at the fifth and sixth holes before dropping a second shot on her penultimate hole, the par-5 seventh.
Choi was pleased with her best ever 18-hole score, as she had a tough time at the Australian Open in Adelaide last week.
Tied for the lead with Karrie Webb on three-under-par after nine holes, she dropped four strokes over the back nine for an opening 73 and followed up with an 80 to miss the cut by seven shots.
“I didn’t play too good last week so confidence wasn’t too high. I haven’t been hitting it that great, so it was nice to play some solid golf today,” said Choi.
“There’s a little bit more pressure now, for the next few rounds, so hopefully I can play some more solid golf and be up there.”
She added that she has enjoyed playing golf at Bonville since she was a junior.
Sagstrom, the halfway co-leader at the Australian Open last week, also made a solid start in the challenging weather conditions.
“It was very much rain on, rain off. We can’t control the weather, so we stayed patient and did what we were supposed to and made really clear decisions,” said the European Solheim Cup player, who mixed six birdies with two bogeys on her debut at Bonville.
“We had a really set game plan and I was trying to hit fairways, greens and get the putter rolling, because I know I can make birdies with the putter. We stuck to that game plan all the way round and I holed a few putts, so it was very steady out there and it was nice.”
Holmqvist, who finished fourth in the tournament last year, was back in the mix after a flawless round containing four birdies.
She said: “I shot four-under-par with 31 putts, so my ball striking was pretty good. I hit 17 greens today, reached two par 5s in two and overall it was a comfortable day. I wish I had made more putts, but don’t we all. I was a good day and I love this course. I think it’s beautiful and a great track.
“I think we were lucky today with the weather. It looked a lot worse on the forecast and I don’t know if it rained a lot overnight, but the course was in great shape.”
Earlier in the day, Green made a flying start with consecutive birdies on her first two holes, the ninth and the 10th and she moved to three-under with a birdie on the long 14th. She dropped shots on 16 and 17, but quickly recovered with birdies on the fourth and the seventh.
Green said: “It was a bit up and down. I had a couple of bogeys out there due to 3-putting, but then I also holed some really good putts as well. Overall I’m happy with how I struck the ball today and I hit a lot of greens, which put me in the position to have some birdie putts. Hopefully I can continue that momentum throughout the week.
“The course held up really well with the rain, so you didn’t have to worry about any water puddles. The course is really good and the greens are really nice.
“It wasn’t causing me trouble, but then it was frustrating to have it sometimes rain quite hard and then all of a sudden nothing and then the sun came down, so it was really humid.”
Hillier also had a topsy turvy round, highlighted by an eagle on the par-4 sixth, where she holed her second shot from 118 metres using a 9-iron.
She said: “I’m very happy with today. It was a solid round to start off the tournament and I had a cheeky little hole out for eagle on six, so that helped the score. I played really well and kept to my game plan.  I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing and try to read the greens well, because they are quite grainy. I love these conditions, the hot, humid weather. It’s perfect.”
The forecast is for sporadic showers all week, and while that might prove tricky for the players, it will be a source of pleasure for the locals after a lengthy dry spell in recent weeks. 





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