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Korean golfers warm up to the Aussie life in Adelaide


First it was koalas and Vegemite, now it’s meat pies and wine – South Korean golfers love Australia and it is having a positive impact on their golf.

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South Koreans Jin Young Ko and Jiyai Shin are on top of the leaderboard after brilliant opening rounds at the ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open today.

They are just in front of 10 players on -4 and a further 10 on -3 in a tightly bunched field at Kooyonga Golf Club in Adelaide, South Australia.

Playing in the afternoon, Shin opened her tournament with a birdie on the first hole on her way to a bogey free 67 while Ko fired nine birdies and two bogeys to take the lead late in the day with a 7-under 65.

“Are there any meat pies?” Shin responded when asked if she was hungry while fronting the press after her round.

Shin, 29 now plays primarily on the Japanese Tour and won the Australian Women’s Open in 2013. The World No.23 also won the Canberra Classic in Australia last week as the perfect lead-up to this week’s LPGA event.

South Korea’s Jiyai Shin lines up a putt during the first round of the 2018 ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open at Kooyonga Golf Club.

She has been working with Australian coach Richard Nizielski who has been feeding her the odd meat pie.

“He gave me the meat pie and then another extra training, so make even,” Shin said.

“I really enjoyed today, bogey-free round,”

“I have a great memory with this tournament … even today, I met a lot of my fans down here. I’m always happy to come back.”

Ranked 20 in the world, Ko is in her rookie year on the global LPGA tour after winning the Hana Bank tournament in Korea last year, a co-sanctioned LPGA event.

Jin Young Ko during the first round of the 2018 ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open. Picture: Golf Australia.

The 22-year-old is well on her way to achieving her tournament goals of making the cut and enjoying herself this week.

“I first time in Australia and Adelaide too, but I hear it’s famous in wine here, so (when I) finish the tournament I will drink wine.

South Koreans dominate women’s golf with 10 players ranked in the world’s top 20. Their love of Australia is also nothing new. Ha Na Jang famously cuddled a koala after winning the tournament at Royal Adelaide last year while world No.3 So Yeon Ryu, below, has several Aussies on her support staff and loves eating Vegemite.

South Korea’s Sun Young Yoo and former World No.1 Lydia Ko were among the players to shoot 4-under in the opening round while Moriya and Ariya Jutanugarn and Ryu are a further shot back on 3-under.

Lydia Ko described her day as “adventurous”

“I think I put myself in the bunker too often … but I made up and down in all of them, which is really good,” the New Zealander said.

“I think my short game was the big key on me shooting 4-under today. It was a solid start to my 2018 season.”

Hannah Green was the best of the Australians at 3-under while crowd favourite Karrie Webb posted a respectable 2-under 70 in her first individual competition since September.

“I’m very happy with 70, I felt really comfortable out there and, if anything, I haven’t felt adrenaline for a while so the ball was travelling a lot further than I was anticipating,” Webb said.

“So I just have to think about that a bit more tomorrow, but it was also because I was hitting it so well and swinging so confidently, which was nice.”

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