Opening 73 leaves Mehaffey just five shots off early pace Down Under

Ronan MacNamara

Olivia Mehaffey (Photo By John Dickson/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Olivia Mehaffey is five shots off the early lead at the Women’s NSW Open at Coolangatta and Tweed Heads Golf Club after an opening round of 73.

Mehaffey is one-over-par for the tournament and is in a share of 26th place, trailing Sweden’s Maja Stark and Amandeep Drall of India who are both on four-under after opening efforts of 68.

It was a bit of a grind for Mehaffey on a day where nothing much happened for the Tandragee native.

After eight successive pars to open her week, the Co. Down golfer moved under-par with a birdie on the ninth to turn in 35.

Unfortunately for the Arizona resident that didn’t spark a back nine flurry, instead the opposite ensued with the 24-year-old dropping two shots in four holes in a tough inward effort.

Bogeys on 11 and 13 saw her home in 38 strokes as she settled for a one-over opening total.

Still, hope springs eternal with Mehaffey just two shots outside the top-11 on the leaderboard as only sixteen players shot in the red on a challenging opening day down under.

Last week’s winner Meghan MacLaren is alongside Mehaffey on one-over after battling fatigue following her triumph. The Englishwoman won her first and second LET titles in this event and is still well placed to challenge again over the weekend.

The home challenge is coming from Jordan O’Brien and two amateurs in the shape of Belinda Ji and Sarah Hammett.

O’Brien and Ju are both third on three-under after a pair of 69s while Hammett is a shot further back in seventh.

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