An emotional Breanna Gill has admitted the devastation of missing out on a place in last week’s Australian Women’s Open has spurred her to a brilliant opening round at the Geoff King Motors Australian Ladies Classic at Bonville
The 40-year-old – who turned professional at the age of 34 in 2014 – posted an impressive 5-under 67 in afternoon conditions to be one off the pace set by American Lauren Stephenson in the morning
There is a logjam at the top of the leaderboard with 16 players separated by just three shots after ideal scoring conditions on day one.
Most of the birdies came on the easier back nine for the field but Gill bucked the trend at what she says is one of her favourite golf course.
“Last week was devastating, I’m not going to lie,” she said of not qualifying for the Australian Open. “I’d been working towards that for 12 months.
“It’s the tournament that means the most to me and to miss out by one spot two different ways…I was in a bad way for a couple of days.”
She said she turned things around with the help of coach John Serhan and confidante Tamara Johns.
“I had a couple of really strong chats with the two of them which helped get my head back in the right space,” she said.
“After I moped for a couple of days and felt sorry for myself I decided there was a golf tournament to win this week and why not me?
“I just decided that come Monday, whatever happens, I will have given it everything.”
With four birdies in the first six holes Gill raced up the leaderboard and despite a bogey at the difficult par-3 8th she still felt things were going her way.
“I holed a 30-footer at the first which was nice,” she said. “It was one of those ones you’re just trying to get close and it fell in so I’ll take that.”
Second-year American Professional Lauren Stephenson leads by one from Korean Min A Yoon and Scotland’s Gemma Dryburgh after all three were out in the morning wave.
Gill, Finland’s Noora Komulainen, World Number 35 Ayean Cho and fellow Korean Hye Ji Lee all rose to a share of second at 5-under in the more tricky afternoon conditions.
Two players share eighth place a shot further back, Lina Boqvist posting her 68 in the morning while rising Irish star Leona Maguire had one bogey against five birdies in the afternoon.
Golf NSW representative Steph Kyriacou is among a group of seven players at 3-under and sharing 10th.
The surprise performance on day one came from Stephenson, from South Carolina, after a fast start on the back nine to begin her round.
“I started off with a birdie on my second hole (the 10th) and then just continued that and had three birdies in a row,” Stephenson said post-round.
“Those holes are really scoreable.”