Drama delivered on ANWA opening day

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Julienne Soo from Australia during round one of the 2019 Augusta National Women & # 39; s Amateur in Champions Retreat.

It has been a dream week so far, but Julienne Soo's first disappointment came on Wednesday as the Australian struggled to produce her best wave on the challenging Champions Retreat course.

Soo signed for a 9-over 81 in the opening round of the first Augusta National Women & # 39; s Amateur, on a day where only 14 of the 72 players in the field had marked a red number.

Soo made history when she became the first Australian to play it at the prestigious new tournament, but unfortunately the early nerves remained.

"I was certainly super nervous on the first tee," Soo said.

"I usually get the first tee nerves, but only the event that it is, it's so much bigger than many of the other tournaments that I play. There was much more on the line."

A trio of early bogies was aggravated when Soo & # 39; s tee was shot on the par-15 15th shot of a rock in a creek, resulting in a triple bogeyman.

But Victorian fought hard and managed to play the next 10 holes in even the par.

The high point came on the short par-4 7th, in which Soo finally got a smile after her ride had settled eight feet above the hole and she emptied the putt for a two.

"I had about four chances for birdie within six feet and I missed them all," Soo said.

"I came to the 7th hole and I thought & # 39; I really want to make this to make up for the others & # 39 ;."

But a hanging lie from behind the 8th turned into a bogey and another quirky ball found a water hazard on the par 5 9th, leaving Soo frustrated but typically optimistic with two days of golf left in Georgia.

"I didn't play great today, but I can't be mad at one of the best tournaments in the world," Soo said.

"I can still play Augusta, so I'm pretty happy!"

After a day of playing, the top of the rankings looks like a fight between David and Goliath.

Both were slowly out of the blocks, but 16-year-old high school student Zoe Campos and the number 1 amateur Jennifer Kupcho thundered home to sign for rounds of 4-under 68.

Campos received a late call-up to join the field and she made her invitation on Wednesday, starting with five straight pars before birdies at six, seven and nine had fired her.

"I didn't think I would get in at all because my ranking was rather low for this tournament," said Campos.

"But once I was inside, I knew I had to play well. I think it's me now!"

The Californian, who shares a hometown and is friends with LPGA star Alison Lee, may have surprised herself on day one, but will certainly revisit her expectations tonight.

"I didn't really expect that I would be top. I really only focused on making the cut," said Campos.

"It is not my absolute goal to win this tournament. I just want to make it a really good experience."

For Kupcho, it was close to the perfect day after the 21-year-old was given the honor to make the first tee-shot in ANWA history for Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley.

After a perfect opening ball, the American was still only 1-bottom on the 14th tee, thanks to a frustrating morning with the putter.

But the Wake Forest student showed her class on the way back to the clubhouse with birdies on 14, 15 and the par-5 18th to grab one lead for part of the day

" I think this is the first time I've ever had any bogeys and hit 18 greens at the same time," Kupcho said.

"So probably the first perfect round that I played."

Kupcho was this week's favorite section and she will be beaten if she maintains this level.

She struggled to convert her birdie chances early, but the American avoided three-putting for the fourth straight round, a personal milestone she would like to maintain.

"I could have made more [putts] but you can't ask to make anything on these greens. They are really hard to read," Kupcho said.

"I watched Leona Maguire and every time she had less than three points, she won a tournament, which is what I need to improve and I worked a lot on that."

South African Kaleigh Telfer sits alone at 3-under on the standings after returning the only 69 of the day, one shot away from a quartet of players at 2-under.

It is back to Champions Retreat for the next round of tomorrow, with the cut at the end of the game, the top 30 women in the standings earn a final round start time at Augusta National on Saturday. All 72 players will be able to play in a practice round on Friday in Augusta.

Soo starts tomorrow at 10:12 local time (1:12 am AEDT) at the 1st.

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