DEFENDING champion Laura Davies is looking ominous after carding a first round five under 68 to lead the Handa Women’s Australian Open at Melbourne’s Commonwealth Golf Course.
Davies holed a 30 foot birdie putt on her final hole to take a two shot lead over the field.
In second place were Coonabarabran’s Rebecca Flood, Victorian amateur Alison Whittaker, Italy’s Giulia Sergas, Korea’s Soo-Jin Yang, England’s Felicity Johnson and Finland’s Jenni Kuosa.
A shot further back in a tie for 8th is World No 1 amateur, American Alexis Thompson, Australian No.3 Lindsey Wright and Austrian Stefanie Michl.
ANZ Ladies Masters winner Karrie Webb had a tough day, posting a three over par 40 on her outward nine but steadied the ship on the inward nine to finish even.
Her expected rival Katherine Hull was tied for 11th after a four birdie round that finished one under.
Davies was in a confident mood and after starting with a bogey plotted her way around the sandbelt course, often opting for a long iron off the tee.
“I took the decision to hit a couple of three irons that left me long shots in, but because I was swinging so well, I was not scared,” the 46 year old Englishwoman said.
“I had six birdies and a couple of up and downs to save good pars, which you have to do on a course like this. Luckily, I putted very well today.”
“I’ve come in here in a confident mood, thinking I am one of the players with a chance to win if I play well and putt well.”
Marquee players Davies, Webb, Hull, World No 6 Yani Tseng and World No 7, Anna Nordqvist will all tee off in tomorrow’s (Friday’s) afternoon field for the second round.
ONE HD has second round television coverage from 2.30 to 6.30 pm on Friday and the final rounds will be on both TEN and ONE on the weekend.
Don’t ask us why they don’t have first round coverage (as they didn’t for the Ladies Masters).
As is usually the case with the Australian television system, it will be some (perfectly?) reasonable excuse totally incomprehensible to the average Joe.
It can’t be that ONE had an urgent need to show repeats of the Paintball and BMX instead – whatever it is those shows entail.