Jessica Korda and Katie Burnett both had fabulous first rounds at the Volvik RACV Australian Masters and are sharing a one-shot lead going into the second round. Korda, who won the season opening Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic in January and climbed up the Rolex Rankings from 40th to 24th, is playing hard for an early-season second win. Burnett, a 2013 LPGA Tour rookie still hunting her first top-10 finish, missed the cut at the Pure Silk-Bahamas. She’s playing for redemption. They both carded 68. Now their focus will be on keeping what they have. There’s a five-way tie among players who trail the pair by a single shot and directly behind them there a seven-way logjam two shots off the lead.
In her post-round interview Korda anticipates the challenges the leaders will face during the second round:
Who’s Chasing Korda & Burnett?
The leaderboard is top-heavy and crowded and that promises some second round excitement.
Trailing the lead by a single shot, Frenchwoman Valentine Derrey, Canadian Lorie Kane, American Cheyenne Woods, and a pair of South Africans, Lee-Anne Pace and Stacy Lee Bregman, all carded first round scores of 69. Any or all of them could easily take the lead away from Korda and Burnett.
Four Australians — Kristie Smith, Sarah Kemp, Rebecca Artis, and amateur Minjee Lee — are among the crowd of seven who trail the lead by two shots. They’re joined by an LPGA rookie, Denmark’s Line Vedel, and two LET Tour veterans, the Netherlands’ Dewi Claire Schreefel and China’s Yu Yang Zhang.
Twenty-two players are going into the second round at the Australian Masters within three shots of Korda and Burnett.
There’s Still A Lot of Golf To Be Played
Amelia Lewis, who who got my attention when she played some stunning golf at the Pure Silk-Bahamas, then stumbled a bit at the New Zealand Women’s Open, seems to be back on her game. She went to the clubhouse at -2, three shots off the lead, and with a share of 15th place. She can easily play her way up the board from there if she can roll out that game she showed in the third round of the Pure Silk-Bahamas.
LPGA rookie Anya Alvarez played some inspired golf in New Zealand, but didn’t fare so well during her first round at Queensland. With a string of bogeys and an 80 on her card, Alvarez at +7 is well below the projected +1 cut line. She’s going to need some golf miracles in the second round.
This wasn’t the start that either defending champion Karrie Webb or former champ Yani Tseng had envisioned. Webb carded 74, one shot over par, and will start the second round at the Australian Masters near the bottom of the projected cut line. Tseng did only marginally better, going to the clubhouse with a first round score of 73. They both have some work ahead of them in the second round.
The balls are going to fly and drop and I’m confident the board will reconfigure before the second round’s finished and everybody’s in the clubhouse. Can Korda hold on to what she has? Can Webb and Tseng work their magic? Will yet another surprise leader play her way to the top at the RACV Royal Pines Resort?