McKayson NZ Women’s Open
There were a few worrying nights during the run up to the inaugural LPGA event at Windross Farm with heavy rain at night and a softening of the course.
The Pro Ams finished on time, and the weather gods loomed nicely for the opening round. The 29 year-old Jodi Ewart-Shadoff from England shared the first round lead with young Canadian star Brooke Henderson on sevenunder par 65 in the first LPGA Tour event in New Zealand, with the pair snaring 15 birdies between them.
Henderson and Ewart Shadoff held a one-shot lead over Spain's Belen Mozo and Wales' Amy Boulden, who fired the best round in the afternoon when the winds blew, with six birdies in a bogey-free 66.
In all 49 players bettered the par 72 at Windross Farm, including Lydia Ko who had little good fortune on the greens in her opening twounder par 72.
The morning fireworks came from Henderson and Ewart- Shadoff playing in the same group and taking advantage of the still conditions, with Henderson making eight birdies and one dropped shot and the Englishwoman firing seven birdies.
The pair were impressed with the large galleries out early not just to support Ko but also the other players.
Ewart-Shadoff said “I was pleasantly surprised at how many people were out here today. I didn't expect this many
“I was pleasantly surprised at how many people were out here today. I didn’t expect this many people. Around our group and Lydia’s group it was very comparable to a weekend in a domestic event in the US which was very nice to see.”
people. Around our group and Lydia's group it was very comparable to a weekend in a domestic event in the US which was very nice to see.”
Mozo fired her best round in three years with the 28-yearold making four birdies in her first nine holes and two more without blemish coming home and taking a five-shot lead into the weekend after a course record eight-under par 64 including a hole-in-one.
She laughed off her perfect hole-in-one which the prize of an INFINITI car only up on the weekend.
“It is karma. The last holein-one I found out someone had got one just before me so I missed the prize. This one the car is for the weekend. It is my fifth hole-in-one in competition.”
The remarkable crowds that thronged to Windross Farm on the Friday enjoyed the fact that New Zealand's golfing superstar Lydia Ko produced an outstanding 4-under 68 to move to 6-under for the tournament and a share of 12th place.
Henderson followed a spectacular 7-under 65 with a solid 2-under par 70 to sit nine under par for the tournament.
The big mover of the day was Emily Tubert. The American took full advantage of the early conditions to fire a 7-under par 65 and surge to the clubhouse lead.
“It has been a rough year for me and I dislocated my shoulder,” said Tubert, who sat tied for second alongside Henderson and Sagstrom. “I guess it is all part of the learning process.
Seventy-eight players qualified for the final 36 holes with the cut at 1-over par.
The weather looked set to be a major factor heading into what was shaping to be a thrilling final round.
Mozo remained in charge however her 36-hole lead of five strokes was trimmed to just one with Henderson leading the chase.
Mozo's shot a one-under par 71 on the Saturday for a threeround total of 15-under, a shot ahead of Henderson. American Brittany Lincicome and China's Jing Yan shared third place on 11-under.
Lydia Ko managed a twounder par 70 to be in a share of 11th place on eight-under. Ko after leaving lots of birdie opportunities on the course drained a massive birdie putt on the 18th to roars from the huge crowd.
Henderson, who was outstanding around the greens, fired a five-under 67 and was confident of her chances on the final day.
“My chipping was probably the key today. I got up-anddown a bunch of times especially early in the round that kept me in it.” Henderson said after her round.
Auckland's weather forecast for Sunday was for a period of heavy rain in the morning followed by strong winds.
Ko said the conditions would dictate her chances on the final day.
“The weather will really dictate tomorrow. If it rains then it can either make it softer or make the ball skid.”
The leading amateur into the Sunday was Northland-based A-Yean Cho on six-under, after a three-under 69.
Brooke Henderson and her caddy sister on 14th.
Day 4 rain.