The Australians are on the chase in this inaugural Australian Ladies Classic – Bonville with international golfers setting the pace at Coffs Harbour.
French youngster Celine Boutier took the clubhouse lead with a three-under round – the equal best of the morning and an ominous sign for the field having recently won the Sanya Open in China in November, and playing with the freedom of full playing rights for the first time.
“I felt like I hit it well all day and had a lot of birdie opportunities,” said the 24-year-old who had an eagle and six birdies in her round to be at -6 for the tournament.
The course played tricky, but she was able to capitalise on good wedge play.
“It can be very tricky if you miss it on the wrong side, you have to be very smart with your approach shots. You can get in trouble very fast,” she said.
Finnish compatriots Ursula Wikstrom and Noora Komulainen backed up their identical opening 74s to both shoot three-under 69s to be well in contention as the event head into the weekend.
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Veteran Wikstram finally got it going at this magnificent course in the Coffs Harbour hinterland, after an opening round in which “whenever there was a chance to get a bogey, I did it”, the 37-year-old said.
“It seems to be easy going today. I only made the one stupid mistake today (at 15), but other than that it was pretty steady.
“Yesterday (Thursday) was one of those days where I didn’t feel like anything would happen. But these tournaments in Australia are the first of the year and hopefully, I will do enough to be in contention on Sunday.”
Iceland’s Valdis Jonsdottir backed up her opening round with another solid effort, with just a single bogey among three birdies. She currently sits in outright second.