Golf Australia

Kirk back in Evian flow

Katherine Kirk
Katherine Kirk finished third at Evian last year.

Katherine Kirk resumed her love affair with the Evian Championship today to lead Australia's hopes at the year's final major championship.

Kirk, who finished just one shot out of a playoff in the French event last year, opened with a quality three-under-par 68 today to lie in a share of seventh after an entertaining first round.

Perth's Minjee Lee was the next best of the six-strong Aussie contingent at one over, with Sarah Jane Smith at two over, Sarah Kemp at three over, while youngsters Hannah Green (+6) and Su Oh (+8) are in early trouble.

Queenslander Kirk, who has never finished worse than 36th in three previous attempts at Evian-Les-Bains major, was again a standout.

The 36-year-old has had a rollercoaster season, but two top-30 finishes in her past two starts have pointed to better form - and it showed again.

Kirk, who started on the 10th tee, kickstarted her round with a brilliant eagle on the long 15th before giving a shot back on the 18th.

But inward birdies on the fourth and eighth ensured she remained within reach of joint leaders Carlota Ciganda and Maria Torres at six under.

Lee, the world No.6, had been in great shape at two under through her opening nine, also having hit off the tenth tee.

But three bogeys on the bounce from the sixth hole brought her back in the pack.

Other prominent big names early include Brooke Henderson and Nasa Hatoaka, both at -4, with So Yeon Ryu, Inbee Park and Georgia Hall among those at three under, while world No.1 Sung Hyun Park is among those in strife at six over.

LEADERBOARD


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