Sarah Jane Smith is on track to win in her home country.
Smith sits atop a packed leaderboard at 9-under par and holds the 36-hole lead at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. The Australian native leads Caroline Hedwall, Marissa Steen, Lizette Salas and Pornanong Phatlum by one shot and has a large group of pursuers with 18 players within four shots of the lead.
For Smith, the No. 107 player in the Rolex Rankings with only six career top-10 finishes; this is new territory looking to pick up her first win on the LPGA Tour. The Australian native made three consecutive birdies on the front nine finishing with six on the day and admitted it would be pretty special to win this week.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about it but obviously that’s not the main focus of the next two days. I mean, obviously, it would be a dream come true and something I think every young Australian thinks about at some point,” said Smith. “So, to even be in a position right now is pretty exciting.”
Hedwall, Steen, Salas and Phatlum are a just stroke back of Smith in a share of second at 8-under par.
Steen got off to good start birding her first and third holes but admitted having a few “hiccups” in the middle of the round before finishing with an eagle on the par 5 No. 17.
“I have been before, never on LPGA or anything like that but on Epson Tour I have been and I think for me it’s just staying within myself and staying confident and just going out and kind of, like I was saying yesterday, putting the blinders on and just focusing on what I need to do. So, I was letting some outside distractions get to me there in the middle, but I was proud of myself for blocking those out and just sticking with my game."
Phatlum, 3-under today, had a solid round of golf with four birdies, one bogey.
“Today I just tried to play with my confidence, the wind is most problem, so I just wait,” said Phatlum. “I just go have fun and enjoy on the course.