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Tourism Ireland ambassador Walshe leads in Australia

Alison Walshe. Galway-born Alison Walshe leads after opening round of the Ladies European Tour sanctioned Volvik RACV Ladies Masters in Australia.

The 27-year old Irish-American shot a flawless six-under-par 66 to lead by a stroke from compatriot Jessica Korda at the RACV Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast in the opening event of the LET season.

“I put a lot of work into my off season,” Walshe said. “I had a pretty positive and confident mind set coming into today and now to play the way I did just kind of solidified that and puts me in a good spot.”

Nominating her putting as the strongest part of her game, she added: “I have been putting a lot of work into that. It was pretty slow, so I just had to really give it a firm hit and I made a lot of good putts, so I was happy with that.”

While she declared for Ireland earlier in her career, Walshe decided she felt more comfortable as an American and returned her Team Ireland Golf Trust grant.

However, Tourism Ireland has snapped her up as its new ‘Gathering 2013’ ambassador for ladies golf in the United States.

Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s Vice President of Marketing in US, said: “The achievements of our golfers in the last number of years have been absolutely phenomenal. It really is true to say that Ireland is the ‘Home of Champions’.

“We are delighted to welcome Alison onboard as our Ladies Golf Ambassador and in 2013 – the year of The Gathering – we look forward to Alison helping us to spread the word about the unique nature of an Irish golf experience.”

66 Alison Walshe (USA)

67 Jessica Korda (USA)

68 Nontaya Srisawang (THA) , Dori Carter (USA) , Belen Mozo (ESP) , Stacey Keating (AUS)

69 Daniela Holmqvist (SWE) , Ariya Jutanugarn (THA) , Chella Choi (KOR)

70 Pernilla Lindberg (SWE) , Marianne Skarpnord (NOR) , Gwladys Nocera (FRA) , Nikki Campbell (AUS) , Karrie Webb (AUS) , Caroline Bon (NZ) , Kristie Smith (AUS) , Maria Hernandez (ESP) , Su-Hyun Oh (AUS) , Bree Arthur (AUS) , Joanna Klatten (FRA) , Linda Wessberg (SWE)

71 So Yeon Ryu (KOR) , Jiyai Shin (KOR) , Min Jee Lee (AUS) , Carly Booth (SCO) , Sarah Kemp (AUS) , Amelia Lewis (USA) , Frances Bondad (AUS) , Jee Young Lee (KOR) , Beth Allen (USA) , Mi Hyang Lee (KOR) , Diana Luna (ITA) , Pornanong Phatlum (THA) , Vicky Thomas (AUS)

72 Jennifer Gleason (USA) , Dawn Shockley (USA) , Hannah Burke (ENG) , Annie Choi (KOR) , Antonella Cvitan (SWE) , Karen Lunn (AUS) , Marion Ricordeau (FRA) , Sarah-Jane Smith (AUS) , Lacey Agnew (USA) , Alexandra Vilatte (FRA) , Sara Maude Juneau (CAN) , Caroline Hedwall (SWE)

73 Lee-Anne Pace (ZAF) , Jacqueline Hedwall (SWE) , Christel Boeljon (NLD) , Aimee Neff (USA) , Inhong Lim (KOR) , Rebecca Lee-bentham (CAN) , Tania Elosegui (ESP) , Jessica Speechley (AUS) , Felicity Johnson (ENG) , Stephanie Na (AUS) , Giulia Sergas (ITA) , Tamara Johns (AUS)

74 Il Hee Lee (KOR) , Rachel Bailey (AUS) , Valentine Derrey (FRA) , Rebecca Artis (AUS) , Jody Fleming (AUS) , Ryann O Toole (USA) , Corie Hou (AUS) , Holly Aitchison (ENG) , Giulia Molinaro (ITA) , Anais Maggetti (CHE) , Samantha Whittle (AUS) , Jade Schaeffer (FRA) , Katherine Hull-kirk (AUS) , Sophie Gustafson (SWE) , Xi Yu Lin (CHN) , Cathryn Bristow (NZL) , Cheyenne Woods (USA) , Mallory Fraiche (USA) , Caroline Masson (DEU) , Becky Brewerton (WAL) , Alison Whitaker (AUS) , Cecilie Lundgreen (NOR) , Joanne Mills (AUS) , Elizabeth Bennett (ENG)

75 Ashlee Dewhurst (AUS) , Geraldine Brown (AUS) , Carlota Ciganda (ESP) , Connie Chen (ZAF) , Jessica Noh (AUS) , Sophie Giquel-bettan (FRA) , Veronica Felibert (VEN) , Julia Boland (AUS) , Elena Robles (USA) , Pamela Pretswell (SCO) , Becky Morgan (WAL) , Courtney Massey (AUS) , Tamie Durdin (AUS) , Anne-Lise Caudal (FRA) , Daniela Iacobelli (USA)

76 Nicole Smith (USA) , Lorie Kane (CAN) , Titiya Plucksataporn (THA) , Kate Little (AUS) , Kylie Walker (SCO) , Sophie Walker (ENG) , Jennie Lee (USA) , Elisa Serramia Neundorf (ESP) , Laura Davies (ENG) , Jean Chua (MYS) , Whitney Hillier (AUS) , Charlotte Ellis (ENG) , Laurette Maritz (ZAF) , Nancy Harvey (CAN) , Esther Choe (USA)

77 Nikki Garrett (AUS) , Emma De Groot (AUS) , Ginny Brown (USA) , Heather Bowie Young (USA) , So Hyun Bae (KOR) , Lynnette Brooky (NZL) , Danielle Montgomery (ENG)

78 Lydia Hall (WAL) , Camilla Lennarth (SWE) , Hyun Myung Kim (KOR) , Seon Woo Bae (KOR) , Katelyn Must (AUS) , Sahra Hassan (WAL) , Cassandra Kirkland (FRA) , Jana Welsford (AUS) , Phyllis Meti (NZL) , Emily Taylor (ENG)

79 Lee Park (AUS) , Sarah King (AUS) , Verity Turner (AUS) , Christina Kim (USA)

80 Mianne Bagger (DNK)

82 Rebecca Green (AUS) , Rebecca Kay (AUS) , Hee Won Na (KOR)