Davies surges clear in Australia

Laura Davies posted a five-under 68 for a two-shot, first-round lead at the Handa Women’s Australian Open.

Defending champion Laura Davies holed a thirty foot birdie putt at the ninth to close with a five-under 68 and secure a two shot lead in Thursday’s first round of the Handa Women’s Australian Open.

In conditions which Davies described as “blustery”, the veteran English former World No 1 opened with a bogey on the par-5 10th hole at the Commonwealth Golf Club, but recovered immediately with a birdie on the 11th and never looked back on her way to edging two shots clear of a group of six who are tied for second.

They are Australians Rebecca Flood and Alison Whitaker, England’s Felicity Johnson, Italy’s Julia Sergas, Korean Soo-Jin Yang and Finland’s Jenni Kuosa.

After her birdie at 11, Davies nailed further back-to-back birdies at 16 and 17 to make the turn at two-under.

Further birdies on the 2nd, 7th and 9th holes coming home completed her round of 68.

Davies said her putting had made all the difference.

“I did not putt well on the 10th. I had a poor bogey there. I did not get up and down. But from that point on, 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,” Davies said.