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Su Oh questions WPGA Championship format

3 minute read

Grace Kim shot a three-under 68 on Friday to take the lead from first-round pacesetter Su Oh in the maiden Australian WPGA Championship in Brisbane.

GEOFF OGILVY.
GEOFF OGILVY. Picture: Paul Kane/Getty Images

LPGA Tour star Su Oh has questioned the format of the inaugural Australian WPGA Championship that rules out a weekend head to head shoot-out at Brisbane's Royal Queensland GC.

Youngster Grace Kim seized the lead on Friday, carding a three-under 68 to move to five-under, one shot ahead of Oh, who followed her opening 66 with a stuttering 72.

Sarah-Jane Smith also had 68 and is a shot further back, with a two-stroke gap back to youngster Karis Davidson (71) among the 24-strong field.

The women have been split into separate groups, each playing alongside two men contesting the Australian PGA Championship, across the first two rounds.

But Oh was surprised to learn that will continue into the weekend.

"I would think it would make sense to play together," she said.

"As much as I like playing with the boys, it's a different trophy.

"If we were playing for the same thing I would assume we would play in one group, but since it's two different trophies and two different tournaments at the same venue, which is great, I thought we might be paired together."

It means Oh will have to rely on scoreboards and crowd reaction to chart Kim's progress after the 21-year-old quietly drew level - and then assumed outright lead - while playing alongside former US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy on Friday.

Kim, fresh off a win in Ogilvy's Sandbelt Invitational last month, could have led by more after another frustrating day with the putter.

"I let a couple slip by, so I'll be on the putting green very soon," said Kim, who hopes to earn full-time status on the LPGA Tour this year.

"I didn't really give it a chance. Definitely that's what caused a couple of loose pars, but in the end it was fine."

Ogilvy, who will miss the cut after finishing three-over, said Kim was a product of the legacy of Karrie Webb, who the women's trophy is named after.

"She doesn't have a weakness, she wasn't showing any nerves - the complete package," he said.

"I was a closet Karrie fan ... she's a legend, she gave the Aussie girls a feeling that 'wow, we can be the best in the world here'."

Generous crowds followed their group, Kim obliging the many young girls waiting for her autograph after her round.

The initiative follows the success the Vic Open and Sandbelt Invitational have had as mixed men's and women's events.

"It just shows how far it elevates the tournament with guys and girls (playing together)," Ogilvy said.

"I love playing with them, they probably really enjoy it too and we get sick of seeing the same smelly old blokes each week.

"Look at the Australian Open tennis; events are just better that way and it's certainly the future, a formula that would work around the world."

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