MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Jennifer Song of the United States shot a 6-under-par 67 on Thursday to earn a share of the first-round lead at the Women’s Australian Open.
Song was tied with South Korea’s Jiyai Shin, who was playing her first event of the year. Rebecca Coakley of Ireland was in third place with a 68, while five golfers were tied for fourth with 69s: Australian Nikki Campbell, Eun Ji and Eun-Hee Ji of South Korea, Anne-Lise Caudal of France and Becky Morgan of Scotland.
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.”