BARWON HEADS, Australia (AP) — Australian Su Oh had a hole-in-one on her way to a 6-under 67 and a tie for the clubhouse lead Thursday with Canadian Anne-Catherine Tanguay at the unique Vic Open, where men and women are playing in alternate groups over two courses.
After starting her round on the 10th hole of the par-73 Creek course at the 13th Beach Golf Links, Oh aced the 138-meter par-three 15th hole with a 6-iron. Tanguay played the par-72 Beach course and shot 66 in the tournament being sanctioned by the LPGA Tour for the first time.
Minjee Lee began her title defense with a 1-under 72, while fellow Australian and seven-time major winner Karrie Webb shot 73, both on the Creek course. Morgan Pressel was 3-under after a 70 on the Creek layout, as was England’s Georgia Hall.
Australian Nick Flanagan, the 2003 U.S. Amateur winner, shot 10-under 62 on the Creek course to hold the clubhouse lead in the men’s tournament which is sanctioned by the European Tour.
Among those tied for second, two strokes behind, were Flanagan’s housemate James Nitties, American Kurt Kitayama, Hugo Leon of Chile, and England’s Callum Shinkwin. Andrew (Beef) Johnston shot 66, also on the Creek course.
Tournament officials said Nitties, who started on the back nine at the Beach course, tied a record for consecutive birdies with nine, equaling Mark Calcavecchia’s record at the 2009 Canadian Open. Unfortunately for Nitties, he double-bogeyed his fifth hole before making birdie on the last four holes of the back nine and the first five on the front.
“I don’t hold any other world records that I know of so to be a part of one is pretty cool,” Nitties joked.
The 62 was Flanagan’s lowest tournament round.
“I have had a few 9-unders on tour,” he said. “It felt super uncomfortable but it kind of came easy if that makes any sense, which it doesn’t really. A couple of early putts dropped and I just wasn’t trying too hard essentially.”
The start of play was delayed for 70 minutes by early-morning fog.
Oh finished 45th on the 2018 LPGA Tour money list.
“I came in having had a good year, then I had two months off so I’ve had enough rest,” said the 22-year-old Oh, who has fond memories of 13th Beach, having finished second on her professional debut here at the 2015 Vic Open. “I’ve done so much practice and time off, whether I play well or not I just want to play and get some proper feedback.”
The hole-in-one was Oh’s seventh in competition, although five of those came as an amateur.
The Beach course is being played as a par-72 for both men and women; the Creek is par-72 for men and 73 for women. Both courses will be used for the first two rounds of the tournament.
Next week the Women’s Australian Open, also sanctioned by the LPGA, will be played at The Grange in Adelaide, South Australia.
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