Ideal conditions and a vulnerable back nine saw the morning field post some low numbers in the opening round of the Geoff King Motors Australian Ladies Classic at Bonville.
American second-year Professional Lauren Stephenson set the mark with a 6-under 66, a target that may hold up with afternoon breezes expected at the highly regarded Coffs Coast layout.
Korea’s Min A Yoon and Scotland’s Gemma Dryburgh share second place at 5-under as the afternoon groups take to the course, 18 players posting scores in the red from the morning draw.
“Those holes are really scoreable,” Stephenson said of the inward half of the course, which she played first.
“I started off with a birdie on my second hole (the 10th) and then just continued that and had three birdies in a row.
“The back nine is obviously really important, and it was great going into some of the harder holes, knowing that I already had a couple of birdies.”
Despite the breeze picking up as the afternoon groups teed off, Stephenson said she expected to see more low numbers in the afternoon.
“I think there will still be some low scores,” she said.
“There’s a lot of good par fives, there’s a lot of birdie chances, but there are also a lot of tough holes where you have to scramble for par.
She said the key to Bonville was to keep the ball in play and below the hole on the large greens.
“There are some really tricky putts on these greens,” she said.
“I felt like for the most part today I gave myself a lot of good uphill birdie chances.”
With seven birdies and one bogey Stephenson said the only disappointment of her day was missing a short putt at the 16th, her eighth of the day.
“Unfortunately my bogey was from a missed short, short putt,” she said.
“But I made a lot of really good putts on the other holes so I couldn’t be too upset about that.”