Spa­niard leads unique Aussie event

The Citizen (KZN) - - Sport -

Geelong – Spain’s Ale­jan­dro Canizares blitzed a nine-un­der­par 63 to top the leader­board among the men yes­ter­day while in-form Swede Made­lene Sagstrom (right) shared the women’s spoils at an in­no­va­tive tour­na­ment in Aus­tralia.

The Vic Open is the only event in the world with male and fe­male fields tee­ing off, in al­ter­nate groups, on the same course and for equal prize money.

It has been run­ning as a dual event for seven years.

But the tour­na­ment took on added sig­nif­i­cance last year with the Eu­ro­pean Tour and the US-based LPGA Tour jointly sanc­tion­ing it for the first time, with prize money sig­nif­i­cantly boosted.

Played at the 13th Beach Golf Links south of Melbourne, Canizares fired 10 birdies to one bo­gey in his 63 to be two ahead of a chas­ing pack of four Aus­tralians – Matt Grif­fin, Travis Smyth, Jake McLeod and Justin War­ren.

“I putted re­ally well. It was one of those days where you saw the hole pretty big,” said Canizares.

Sagstrom shares top spot in the women’s field af­ter a 65, match­ing South Korea’s Kang Haeji and Tai­wan’s Peiyun Chien.

The Swede, who claimed her first LPGA win two weeks ago in the United States, started with six birdies in her first seven holes be­fore break­ing a run of pars with birdies at each of the last three.

“I think af­ter my first win it def­i­nitely added con­fi­dence to ev­ery­thing, just know­ing that I can com­pete out here, know­ing that I can win on tour,” she said.

In­cred­i­bly, two strokes be­hind is English vet­eran Laura Davis, who has been on tour for 35 years but was play­ing her first event in six months af­ter tak­ing time off to look af­ter her ail­ing mother.

“That’s the best I’ve putted in 20 years,” said the 56-year-old, who has 87 world­wide vic­to­ries to her name.

To ac­com­mo­date the dual fields, there are two cuts – one as usual af­ter round two, and an­other re­duc­ing the men’s and women’s fields to 35 play­ers af­ter 54 holes.

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