In January, the LPGA Tour joined forces with four other international tours to donate to a relief fund set up by Golf Australia. Numerous players have also pledged their support through donations for birdies and eagles, including first-round leader Jodi Ewart Shadoff. She has pledged $100 per birdie, an amount that will be matched by her sponsor Radar Tires.
“Really happy to make seven birdies, “said Ewart Shadoff. “I’m donating to the Adelaide Koala Rescue this week for birdies, so it’s nice to make a ton of birdies today.”
HANNAH GREEN FOCUSING ON GOLF, NOT FAME
Since her breakthrough major victory at the 2019 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, things have changed for Hannah Green. Media requests are up. Her face is plastered across Royal Adelaide’s official marketing materials. Fans are clamoring for her autograph. So Green is making a concerted effort to keep her sights focused on the game, not the trappings that come with big wins.
“I’m definitely soaking it all in, that’s for sure,” said Green. “I’ve never had so much attention on me, but the crowds are so good to us when we’re here in Australia, no matter whether you are an Aussie or not, so trying to just feed off them and talking to my caddie and he’s keeping me calm.”
Green did a superb job of maintaining her balance on Thursday. She carded a 4-under 69 on Thursday, making five birdies to just one bogey in her opening round. She has never finished outside the top 20 in her National Open and is well on her way to yet another successful week in Adelaide.
“It was hard to hit greens because they were starting to firm up and it was hard to know how much they were going to release,” said Green. “I think (caddie) Nate (Blasko) and I did a really good job. We probably played on the safer side a few holes, probably could have been a bit more aggressive, but luckily I had some really good two-putts out there. I feel like I’m in good form for the next few days.”
ROOKIE JILLIAN HOLLIS OFF TO FAST START
Thursday was a good day for 2020 LPGA Tour rookie Jillian Hollis. Playing in her third event as a Member, the 22-year-old from Rocky River, Ohio, dropped a 12-foot putt for eagle at No. 17 en route for a first-round 5-under 68, the lowest round she has ever returned in an LPGA Tour event. After finishing 69th three weeks ago at the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio and missing the cut at last week’s ISPS Handa Vic Open, Hollis is happy to see her game rounding into shape this week at Royal Adelaide.
“Everything is coming together the last couple of weeks. Everything’s been there but just a little off,” said Hollis, who earned her 2020 LPGA Tour card by finishing fifth in the Epson Tour’s 2019 Volvik Race for the Card. “I’ve played better than I’ve scored, so to have a good round today, to know that all my hard work is kind of showing, it’s very rewarding. I’m very happy. I like this golf course a lot.”
This is Hollis’ first trip Down Under and she plans to make the most of her time in Australia. After the cancellation of the LPGA Tour’s Asian events due to the coronavirus, Hollis will play in next week’s Geoff King Motors Australian Ladies Classic – Bonville, a stop on the Ladies European Tour, before making a tourist stop in Sydney.
“I’ve met so many nice people and just kind of getting my feet under me, trying to find caddies and trying to navigate my travels,” said Hollis. “It was kind of a bummer that the tournament in China was cancelled. I just decided not to play in that one, but I’m enjoying my time in Australia. I’m going to stay here for a couple more weeks and just hang out.”
PERNILLA LINDBERG HAPPY TODAY, LOOKING AHEAD
Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg was all smiles after her first-round 70 on Thursday, a clean round of three birdies that put in her a tie for 19th. Saying Royal Adelaide is one of the best courses the LPGA Tour will visit all year, the 2018 ANA Inspiration champion was happy to get a good start under her belt.
“I didn’t even feel like I had my best out there,” said Lindberg, who is playing in her ninth ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. “But all my misses were in the right spot as I could get up and downs and kept giving myself chances. The birdies I made were all kind of tap-ins, so it was kind of low stress.”
Lindberg is also prepping for a new challenge facing her in two weeks, when she will become the first female professional in the 101-year history of the New Zealand Open. Lindberg and her husband Daniel Taylor, who works as her caddie, were married atop a mountain near Queenstown on Jan. 31, 2019, and the Open coincided with their planned first-anniversary trip to the island nation.
“It’s going to be an incredible challenge,” said Lindberg, who will be paired with All Blacks rugby star Beauden Barrett in the event, a pro-am like the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. “I’m not going to set any kind of goals for myself, but I’m really going to soak in the week.”
Rolex Rankings No. 87 Jodi Ewart Shadoff (66)
- Hit 15 of 15 fairways and 15 of 18 greens, with 26 putts
- Ewart Shadoff is in her 10th season on the LPGA Tour; her best career finish is second, coming at the 2017 AIG Women’s British Open and the 2016 Citi Banamex Lorena Ochoa Invitational.
- She is competing in her sixth ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open; her best finish is a tie for eighth in 2019 at The Grange Golf Club, and she finished T24 at Royal Adelaide in 2017.
- This is her second event of the 2020 LPGA Tour season; she finished T19 at the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio.
- A three-time member of the European Solheim Cup Team (2013, 2017, 2019) with a 3-6-1 overall record.
- A two-time member of Team England at the UL International Crown (2016, 2018) with a 5-2-1 overall record.
- A 2010 graduate of the University of New Mexico with a degree in psychology.
Rolex Rankings No. 17 Inbee Park (67)
- Hit 12 of 15 fairways and 14 of 18 greens, with 26 putts
- Park is in her 14th season on the LPGA Tour; she has 19 career victories, including seven majors, and won most recently at the 2018 Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
- She is competing in her second ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open; she missed the cut in 2012.
- This is her fourth event of the 2020 LPGA Tour season; she tied for second at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions, where she lost in a playoff.
- Park won the gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Rolex Rankings No. 9 Jeongeun Lee6 (67)
- Hit 12 of 15 fairways and 13 of 18 greens, with 25 putts
- Lee6 is in her second season on the LPGA Tour; she won the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open en route to earning Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year honors.
- She is competing in her second ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open; in 2019, she tied for 10th in her LPGA Tour Membership debut.
- This is second event of the 2020 LPGA Tour season; she missed the second cut at last week’s ISPS Handa Vic Open.
Tournament: @WomensAusOpen (Twitter and Instagram), #WomensAusOpen
LPGA: @LPGA, @LPGAMedia (Twitter), @lpga_tour (Instagram)
TV TIMES (all times Eastern)
Thursday, Feb. 13 to Friday, Feb. 14 – 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Friday, Feb. 14 to Saturday, Feb. 15 – 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Saturday, Feb. 16 to Sunday, Feb. 17 – 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.