World No. 1 Jiyai Shin moved into a share of the lead with America's Jennifer Song after Thursday’s first round of the Handa Women’s Australian Open. The lead duo both compiled rounds of 67 at the par-73 Commonwealth Golf Club to take a one-stroke lead over Ireland's Rebecca Coakley.
South Korean Shin enjoyed a bogey-free round featuring three birdies on both the front and back nine, including five in seven holes between eight and 14. But Song went stride for stride with the 22-year-old Shin, herself compiling a blemish-free 6-under-par round to go into the second day in a strong position.
2011 WOMEN'S AUSTRALIAN OPEN
The Australian Open is the biggest women's event Down Under, as well as the kickoff to the 2011 Ladies European Tour season.
On a day of high-quality golf, Coakley also steered clear of any bogey trouble as she hit five birdies -- including one at the par-3 18th -- to finish a shot clear of a clutch of players on 4 under.
Australian Nikki Campbell and Wales' Becky Morgan were among five players to shoot a 69, alongside with Korean duo Eun Ji and Eun-Hee Ji and Anne-Lise Caudal of France. Eight players were tied on 3 under, defending champion Yani Tseng among them.
Two former Australian Open champions were further back: Laura Davies of England shot 71 and Australia’s Karrie Webb 72.
“My whole round was very scratchy,” Webb said. “I managed to get it around. I did some good things. I have not played for two months. I’m not complaining.”
Shin arrived in Australia on Sunday, and went to the Australian Open men’s tennis final won by Novak Djokovic, whom she met last year.
“I changed my swing a little bit last month -- I changed the tempo,” Shin said. “I had confidence but I was a little bit nervous, too. But when I played the first hole with good hitting, good contact, after that I just trusted myself and I hit to the pin on every hole.”
Shin, who has finished second in Australian tournaments but never won Down Under, spent a few weeks in South Korea visiting her family, but it turned out to be not much of a holiday.
“For the first 10 days it was interview, interview, interview, interview,” Shin said. “It is OK because they are waiting about one year for me. I really have to do it. My body was a little bit tired but it is OK.”