Koalas biggest winners after birdie binge Down Under

Sports | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 14 Feb 2020

Jodi Ewart Shadoff made a lot of koalas happy by sinking seven birdies to lead the LPGA Australian Open with defending champion Nelly Korda three shots adrift after the first round.

The Englishwoman fired a blemish-free 66 around the par-73 Royal Adelaide Golf Club having pledged to donate US$100 (HK$780) for every birdie to a koala rescue charity with her sponsor matching the sum.

Ewart Shadoff has a one-stroke lead over South Koreans Lee Jeong Eun and Park In Bee with three Americans - Marina Alex, Jillian Hollis and Amy Olson - a shot further back.

Korda, the daughter of former Australian Open Grand Slam tennis champion Petr, is lurking in a pack of 10 after a four-under 69.

Ewart Shadoff benefited from being back in the clubhouse before breezy conditions kicked in and with seven birdies in the bag already, that's US$1,400 to help the furry marsupials.

"Really solid, really happy to make seven birdies," she said. "I'm donating to the Adelaide Koala Rescue this week for birdies, so it's nice to make a ton."

Ewart Shadoff's best showing on the LPGA Tour was second place at the 2017 British Open. "I feel ready," she answered when asked if she could grab her maiden victory.

Park Hee Young, who won the LPGA's Vic Open last weekend, birdied the last four holes to salvage an even par 73 after a horror start with a double bogey and two bogeys.

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