Fassi – Cho show rolls into Bonville

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Even in the midst of the very good, the best stand out. Even when not at their best, they separate themselves from the pack.

And so it was for Ayeon Cho and Maria Fassi when paired together in the opening round of the Geoff King Motors Australian Ladies Classic at Bonville Golf Resort.

Impressive doesn’t do justice to the golf games of either, and though they are polar opposites in almost every way, both clearly stand out from the pack.

On day one their scores, too, were polar opposites with Fassi struggling to a 1-over 73 while Cho somehow eked out a 5-under 67.

The Korean is the more polished of the two players – as their respective scores suggest – but Fassi has the sort of explosive power that can’t be taught and will take some time to tame.

Cho will start day two one shot off the pace set early in the day by American Lauren Stephenson.

Fassi will be seven back but 65 looks as easily achievable for her as the 73 she signed for Thursday, such is the raw power of her game.

The Mexican first came to prominence at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur tournament last year when finishing runner-up to Jennifer Kupcho.

She looked impressive on the TV from Georgia that week, but up close at Coffs Harbour she proved nothing short of electric.

She tried to drive the green at the 301-metre ninth hole – a par-4 that plays slightly uphill – and had she hit straight would damn near have pulled it off.

At the same hole, Cho found a fairway bunker off the tee some 100 metres short of the green then thinned her next into more sand behind the green.

Her 30-metre splash shot finished eight feet from the hole and she duly holed the putt for par.

Fassi, meanwhile, chopped out from behind a tree, played an overly bold pitch to 10 feet then missed the par attempt.

That exchange neatly encapsulated the games – and attitudes – of both players.

Both are a pleasure to watch, Cho for her poise under pressure and Fassi for making you believe that, like the great Seve Ballesteros, anything can happen when she has a club in hand.

It is testament to the uniqueness of golf that two such disparate young characters can mark themselves so clearly as a class above the rest of this week’s field.

Cho is 19 and already the 34th ranked player in the world though expect that number to move closer to the top 10 in 2020.

Fassi is a couple of years older and 205 places lower in the rankings but that won’t be the case for long.

In the meantime, Australian fans have the luxury of being able to sit back and enjoy what is shaping as a very entertaining three days of golf from the Coffs Coast.

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