Slow start for Walsh at Augusta National Women’s Amateur

Peter Finnan

Lauren Walsh

Peter Finnan

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Lauren Walsh faces a battle to make the cut at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur after she opened her account with a first round of four-over 76 at Champions Retreat.

The opening two rounds will be contested on the Island and Bluff nines at Champions Retreat Golf Club with the leading 30 players after 36-holes advancing to the hallowed turf of Augusta National for Saturday’s final round.

The Castlewarden native is currently in a share of 39th albeit just six shots off the early lead held by Italian Benedetta Moresco who shot a two-under 70.

Playing the course from back to front, Walsh who has been in good form for her college Wake Forest turned in one-over 37 after bogeys on 12 and 14 were followed by a birdie on 18.

The Curtis Cup star fell back to plus two after a bogey on the 2nd which was by no means a disaster. However three dropped shots in two holes towards the finish threatened to derail her championship.

A bogey on seven and a double-bogey on the par-3 8th saw her fall to five-over but she finished on a high with a closing birdie to come home in 39.

It would be a shame for one of the game’s leading amateurs over the last 12 months to miss out on a date with Augusta National and she will need to hang tough to break into the top-30 on Friday.

Scoring proved tough on day one with just five players finishing the opening 18 holes in red figures. Moresco holds a one shot advantage over a quartet in second place that includes Hailey Borja,  WAGR number 2 Ingrid Lindblad, Xiaowen Yin, and Anna Davis all of whom signed for one-under 71s.

Rachel Heck who is ranked third in the world is three shots adrift after a one-over 73 while Megha Ganne and Hannah Darling who enjoyed thrilling runs at the US Women’s and Women’s Open Championships respectively are also one-over.

World number one Rose Zhang is alongside Walsh on plus four and will also face a battle to make the Augusta National cut before entertaining any thoughts of lifting the title on Saturday evening.

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