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.

New Zealand Golf Magazine - - FEATURE - WORDS BY IAN HEPENSTALL & NZGM

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.

Chantelle Cas­sidy.

Be­len Mozo.

Cathryn Bris­tow.

Amelia Gar­vey.

Brooke Hen­der­son and her caddy sis­ter on 14th.

Be­len Mozo.

Ly­dia Ko.

Brooke Hen­der­son.

Day 4 rain.

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