Kemp and Lewis lead Women’s Australian Open

An impressive opening round of four-under-par for Sydney’s Sarah Kemp and American Stacey Lewis has given them a share of the lead at the Women’s Australian Open today.

By Andrea Petrie

Kemp, who is ranked 180th in the world, and Lewis, who is ranked No.9, both carded 69 in the $1.1 million tournament at Royal Melbourne.

Kemp managed a bogey-free round in perfect conditions, scoring her first birdie on back nine before closing her round on the front nine with birdies at the third fourth and seventh holes.

While Lewis bogeyed the 11th and 18th, her six birdies for the day made up for it. Of her round, Kemp, 26, said: “I hit the ball really well. The conditions were really good this morning (and) I guess I took advantage of it.”

Lewis, who won her first major at the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship, said she was pleased to have some momentum going into tomorrow.

She added she loved the course. “I fell in love with place the first time I played it. You have to be so creative and hit so many different shots. I love that,” Lewis said.

“The day was actually pretty easy for me. I did not have to stress over too many putts. I hit a lot of fairways and played consistent.”

World No. 1, Yani Tseng had to be content was finishing a shot off the lead after three-putting the ninth, her last hole for a bogey, finishing her round with 70. Tseng remains tied in second-place alongside Paraguayan Julieta Granada and American Brittany Lincicome at two-under-par.

Tseng, the tournament’s winner for the past two years, said: “That’s three under on an amazing golf course. I am really excited and can’t wait to go out and challenge again”.

Meanwhile, Karrie Webb carded 75 to put her six shots off the lead and narrowly avoided a two-shot penalty on the 13th for marking her ball incorrectly. Luckily a spectator alerted her before the took her shot.

“I just blanked,” she said, explaining that Tseng had asked her to move her marker and she moved it back in the wrong spot. “I don’t even remember moving it the other way but I guess I did,” she said.

“There were about 15 people standing on the other side of the hole and I was just about to pull the trigger and he spoke up. It really caught me off guard. In the end he saved me a two-shot penalty… It was pretty courageous of him.”

The second round begins on Friday at 7.30am.

All four days are broadcast on ABC1 TV. Friday’s telecast is 3.00pm-6.00pm.

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