It was Japan’s Rikako Morita’s 7-under 65 first round that stood out at the close of day 1 at the World Amateur Golf Championships, being played at the De Zalze and Stellenbosch Golf Clubs.
Hosts South Africa will be content with a 3–way tie for second, and the adage of home-ground advantage certainly assisted the home girls in securing a 5–under 139 overall score on the opening day.
Japan’s two other players Mika Mivazato and Erina Hara finished on even-par and one-over respectively, the best two scores placing Japan at the top of the team leader board overnight.
For South Africa Ashleigh Simon (3-under) and Kelli Shean (2-under) combined to place the team at 5-under for the tournament, while Stacy Bregman’s 1-over 73 score does not impact on the team’s standing.
Following Morita, the best-performing individuals included a 6-under 66 from Chinese Taipei’s Pei-Lin Yu, followed by Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist at 4-under for the day.
Nordqvist combined with Sofie Andersson’s 1-under to keep defending champions Sweden in the hunt for a consecutive title, ending the day 5-under with South Africa and Chinese Taipei.
Like SA, Germany also finished well on 3-under due to team performances by Sandra Gal (3-under) and Caroline Masson (even-par), while Canada closed the day 2-under, one in front of Australia and two in front of the USA at even-par for the day.
Conditions look tough for many teams, with a total of 7 teams from 42 making sub-par totals, and 12 teams going 10-over plus, an understrength Gabon finishing on 47-over, 15 points more than Zambia, it’s closest competitor on the leader board.