Hannah Green is the highest-placed Australian at the 2018 ISPS HANDA Women’s Australian Open after an enthralling opening day’s play.
The West Australian took a while to get going this morning, turning at even par, but quickly caught fire on the back nine.
Green was able to card three birdies in four holes – which saw her jump into a share of fourth place within minutes.
The 21-year-old, who finished T7 last year at Royal Adelaide, eventually signed off on a round of three-under 69 – and now sits in 13th place with eight other players heading into tomorrow’s second round.
“I’m very happy that I got off to a good start, lots can happen around this golf course,” Green said.
“There’s a lot of golf to be played but I’m happy with where I’m sitting.”
Green, who is playing her first season as a member of the LPGA Tour, said she felt comfortable during her round and enjoyed the galleries following her.
“I didn’t really have any nerves off the tee and when people were following me I really liked it; it was nice to see people already out here on a Thursday," she said.
“It feels a little bit different being a (LPGA Tour) card holder now, but not out on the golf course."
From an emerging star to a World Golf Hall-of-Famer – a vintage Karrie Webb weaved her way around Kooyonga Golf Club to card a two-under 70.
The Queenslander, who has decided to reduce her playing schedule for 2018, turned back the clock and put on a ball-striking masterclass.
“I’m very happy with 70,” Webb said. “I felt really comfortable out there and, if anything, I haven’t felt adrenaline for a while so the ball was travelling a lot further than I was anticipating.
“I was hitting it so well and swinging so confidently.”
Webb says she will need to consider the extra yardage she is producing, especially after she caught a piece of bad luck when her ball flew off the green after hitting the pin at the 11th hole.
“I pitched it probably five or six metres further than I wanted to, so it might have been a little bit lucky to have not gone over the back if it had missed the pin,” Webb said. “I’m glad I got it up and down, that was the main thing.”
But despite the impressive rounds of both Green and Webb, the spotlight was well and truly shining on up-and-coming South Korean Jin Young Ko, who sits at the top of the leaderboard after recording a scintillating round of seven-under 65.
The 22-year-old, who rocketed home with back-to-back birdies, is playing her first season on the LPGA Tour and is ranked 20th in the world as a winner of 10 tournaments on the Korean Tour.
“I was a little bit nervous last night and then this morning, too,” Ko said. “Then I kept in mind to enter the group and enjoy the first round, because I am a rookie.”
As if to further emphasise the dominance South Korea has over women's golf, Ko's closest pursuer is her compatriot, Jiyai Shin, who won the event in 2013.
Shin, who was also victorious at last week's Canberra Classic, shot a five-under 67 to sit in solo second place, while 10 players share third.
Minjee Lee and Katherine Kirk both recorded even par rounds and are the next best of the Australian contingent, while Su Oh and Stephanie Na are both one over.
Round two of the Women's Australian Open gets underway at 7:00AM (ACDT). Follow Golf Australia magazine on Twitter and Instagram for regular updates throughout the day.