WOMEN: Hosts take early #IntSeries control

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Queensland has put itself in pole position in the race for the women’s Interstate Series title after a tense day one.

After rolling arch rival New South Wales 4.5-0.5 in the opener, the hosts stitched up South Australia 4-1 this afternoon to be the only unbeaten team at Royal Queensland.

New South Wales bounced back well against Western Australia, with Celina Yuan’s powerhouse 5&3 win over Jess Whitting the backbone of a 3.5-1.5 victory.

That loss left those teams knotted at 1-1 where they were later joined by Victoria which hit back from its morning loss to WA with a 4-1 win over Tasmania.

South Australia is ahead of last-placed Tasmania on a countback at 0.5 points, but that probably hides arguably the standout personal performance of the day from Tassie captain Sarah Johnstone.

Johnstone, a young veteran at 24, anchored Tassie’s late charge to snare half a point from SA in the morning, then stunned Victorian ace Olivia Kline in the afternoon to remain unbeaten.

And while Johnstone readily admitted she’d rather her team was closer to the front of the pack, she was delighted with her own form.

“I’m pretty happy with that. It’s a team game, but it is individual as well … and I’m just trying to do the best I can do for my team,” said the Ulverstone ace whose achievement was even more special given she’s playing at No.1.

“Yeah, I guess that’s a pretty good achievement – it makes me feel pretty good.

“It would be great to win (all five matches) … that would be a stellar year – I’ve always wanted to do that.

“But we just need to get back on track tomorrow, we have a couple of our juniors who are improving nicely, so let’s see if we can some more points then.”

Queensland faces pivotal contests tomorrow against WA in the morning, then against Victoria in the afternoon. Should the favoured hosts win both, the likely scenario is the Thursday morning contest between Victoria and NSW will determined the fate of those states – and Western Australia.

The home team wasn’t dominant in either match today, but flexed muscle when it was needed.

The clearest case in point of that was Golf Australia national squad member Becky Kay, who was 2-down to South Australian Cassidy Evreniadis with three to play, but peeled off three straight birdies to close out a remarkable 1-up victory.

Karis Davidson, at No.1, and Kirsty Hodgkins, at No.4, also remained unbeaten for the powerhouse Queensland team.

WA gave NSW all it could handle for much of their clash, but the Blues stood tall when it counted on the back nine with Yuan, Hannah Park and the impressive Sophie Cusack all notching important victories.

Yuan was stung by her earlier loss to Kay.

“After that smashdown by Queensland, it was good to win the next round,” The Australian Golf Club member said.

“I had a pretty stupid loss in the morning – everything didn’t go well. But I knew what I had to do in the afternoon and just did it.”

Victoria was ruthless against Tassie with none of the four victorious matches going past the 15th green, putting the defending champs second on match differential.

The third round starts at 7.30am tomorrow at Royal Queensland.

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