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England's Johnson takes Vic Open lead

English golfer Felicity Johnson has claimed the lead after the opening round of the women's Vic Open at 13th Beach.

England's Johnson takes Vic Open lead

English golfer Felicity Johnson has claimed the lead after the opening round of the women's Vic Open at 13th Beach.

KARRIE WEBB of Australia hits an approach shot during the ISPS Handa Australian Women's Open at Kooyonga Golf Club in Adelaide, Australia.
KARRIE WEBB of Australia hits an approach shot during the ISPS Handa Australian Women's Open at Kooyonga Golf Club in Adelaide, Australia. Picture:Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Felicity Johnson has become the latest Englishwoman to take a shine to the Vic Open by claiming a two-stroke lead after the opening round at 13th Beach.

The 31-year-old Johnson stormed home late in the day to shoot an eight-under 65 on the Creek course, good enough for a two-shot lead over Australian Su Oh, Canada's Anne-Catherine Tanguay and American Kim Kaufman.


The 36-hole beachside layout has become something of a stronghold for female English golfers in recent years, with Georgia Hall and Mel Reid lifting the Vic Open title in successive years in 2016 and 2017.

"Australia is like England but with sunshine so we obviously feel pretty at home here," said Johnson after her bogey-free round.

"We do play a lot of these courses at home, links-style with a bit of wind.

"It feels familiar almost."

Oh was the best-placed Australian after day one, with her six-under round highlighted by a hole-in-one on the 138m par-3 15th on the Creek course.

Oh finished 45th on the 2018 LPGA Tour money list and arrived at 13th Beach champing at the bit after a long break.

"I came in having had a good year, then I had two months off so I've had enough rest," said the 22-year-old Oh, who has fond memories of 13th Beach, having finished second on her professional debut here at the 2015 Vic Open.

"Now I just want to play.

"I've done so much practice and time off, whether I play well or not I just want to play and get some proper feedback.

"It's just really good to be back out there."

The hole-in-one was Oh's seventh in competition, although five of those came as an amateur.

World No.1 Minjee Lee began her title defence with a one-under 72, while fellow Australian and seven-time major winner Karrie Webb was one stroke further back.

After the start of play was delayed for 70 minutes by early-morning fog on Thursday, low scoring was the order of the day in benign conditions.

The $1.5 million women's tournament runs concurrently with the men's Vic Open on the 36-hole 13th Beach layout.

The women's Vic Open is being co-sanctioned by the LPGA tour for the first time in 2019.

AAP


AAP




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