Australia are among the contenders for the Espirito Santo Trophy after Kirsten Rudgeley and Kelsey Bennett impressed with one-under par opening rounds at the 2022 World Amateur Team Championship at Le Golf National in Paris.
Rudgeley and Bennett’s efforts at the 2024 Olympic Games host venue place Australia in a tie for sixth at two-under par, three shots back from leaders the United States of America.
The pair also sit in a share of 11th place on the individual leaderboard, only two shots back from the leading trio of France’s Constance Fouillet, the United States’ Rachel Heck and Sweden’s Meja Ortengren.
West Australian Rudgeley carded five birdies in her round of 70, which included back-to-back birdies at the sixth and seventh holes, to build into the tournament.
The Australians shift to Golf de Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche for Thursday’s second round and the parkland style of course is set to favour Rudgeley who recorded multiple victories in similar conditions in the United Kingdom last year.
“The weather was awesome. My player partners were good and the course is always good here. I enjoyed the day,” Rudgeley said.
“I’ve got to putt it well and be smart around here. I took a little bit longer over my pre-shot routine to do that.”
Bennett, originally from Mollymook in New South Wales but now playing out of St Michael’s, had three birdies in her 70. She mirrored Rudgeley with back-to-back birdies at the sixth and seventh, to carry on her good form from the US Women’s Amateur two weeks ago where she made the Round of 16.
“It felt pretty solid most of the day. A couple of good ones and a couple of bad ones. It felt okay,” Bennett said.
“I was one-over early and I got those two back. I was stuck at one-under for the rest of it. It was a little bit of a struggle, not many putts dropped.”
The third member of the Australian team, Maddison Hinson-Tolchard, had a difficult opening to the tournament with a four-over round of 75.
The West Australian, who attends Oklahoma State University, had a sole birdie for the day and her putter let her down on numerous occasions.
Round two tee times – Thursday 25 August AEST – Golf de Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche
8.28pm* Kirsten Rudgeley, Navaporn Soontreeyapas (Thailand), Cayetana Fernández (Spain)
8.39pm* Maddison Hinson-Tolchard, Suvichaya Vinijchaitham (Thailand), Paula Martin (Spain)
8.50pm* Kelsey Bennett, Eila Galitsky (Thailand), Carolina Chacarra (Spain)