AUSTRALIA’S Sarah Kemp and American Stacy Lewis are tied for the lead on 4-under after the first round of the 2012 ISPS HANDA Women’s Australian Open.
Kemp, anointed a couple of years back as the next big thing in Australian women’s golf, shot a blemish free round of 69 and will be hoping to keep the momentum going over the next three days at a magnificently prepared Royal Melbourne.
The 26 year old claimed four birdies, three of them in a five-hole stretch from the third to the seventh holes.
Lewis was a little more uneven, shooting six birdies and two bogeys, including one at the last that cost her the outright lead.
A shot further back were defending champion and world No.1 Yani Tseng from Taiwan, American Brittany Lincicome and Paraguayan Julieta Granada.
Three years ago Kemp was Australia’s leading amateur but has admitted to being “absolutely” frustrated since she turned professional and battled to match the hopes placed on her shoulders.
“When I had a really good amateur career and I won everything Webbie (Karrie Webb) did when she was young, I was branded the next Webbie,” Kemp said after her round.
“I played two years in Europe and then I got my (LPGA) card at the first go in Q-school. It was a little bit frustrating but Webbie’s kind of one in a million. That kind of career is pretty spectacular. If I could have a quarter of that you’d be stoked,” she said. “I’d say that my best years are yet to come.”
Kemp will be hoping that starts this weekend but she knows a big issue in the past has been consistency.
“That’s something that’s my goal this year, to put four really good rounds together,” she said. “Over the last couple of years I’ve been able to put two and three together.”
The “Webbie” in question meanwhile didn’t have things go so smoothly. The four-time champion finished at 2-over but was staying positive saying she saw some “positive signs out there” after making some recent swing changes.2012 ISPS HANDA Women’s Australian Open Live Leaderboard