Huff handles heat on home turf

FORE: Aliza Huff of Belmont started with an eagle on the 10th.  Picture: Jonathan Carroll
FORE: Aliza Huff of Belmont started with an eagle on the 10th. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

BELMONT golfer Aliza Huff is confident of this time backing up her first-round lead on home turf at the Lake Macquarie Women’s Amateur Championship after mastering hot and windy conditions on Tuesday.

The 18-year-old started her championship with an eagle on the par-five 10th hole and remained two under at round’s end, placing her in a four-way share of top spot on the leaderboard.

Victorian prodigy Oh Su-hyun (Metropolitan), Queenslander Ali Orchard (Surfers Paradise) and West Australian Tatiana Wijaya (Cottesloe) also shot 71s to co-lead the field by two strokes.

Bianca Ling (Kingswood), from Victoria, was next best after a par-round of 73. West Australian Hannah Green (Mount Lawley) carded two strokes further back.

The start was familiar ground for Huff, who lead the event two years ago with a first-round 73 before finishing the 72-hole championship in 13th.

Huff took a break from the sport, missing last year’s event, and believes she can continue the bright start.

‘‘I’m feeling better with this one,’’ Huff said.

‘‘I feel like I can play good tomorrow and put it all back together again and finish off the week.’’

Huff hit her second shot on Tuesday to within a metre and a half of the pin, setting the tone for her round.

‘‘It was awesome,’’ Huff said.

‘‘It didn’t really feel like I was playing that well until I finished and I thought, ‘Well, I just shot two under’.

‘‘It just sort of happened. I was concentrating on not dying in the heat.’’

Temperatures into the high 30s and strong westerly wind made for less than ideal conditions, but Huff said she felt right at home.

‘‘I just played normal.

‘‘I’m used to the wind at Belmont now and the past couple of months I’ve been practising there and there’s been a fair few westerlies, so it was just like playing in normal conditions really.’’

Oh looms as the biggest threat to Huff’s charge.

She made history in 2009 when at age 12 she became the youngest player to qualify for the Women’s Australian Open.

Now 16, she won the Australian Girls’ Amateur Champion last year.

‘‘She is awesome and it’s different going up against someone of that calibre, but it’s fun,’’ Huff said.

Conditions should ease today with moderate southerly winds and temperatures in the mid 20s predicted.