EARLY LEADER: Holly Clyburn plays a deft chip to make an up and down on the 17th hole on her way to an opening round 67 in the Australian Ladies Classic - Bonville.
EARLY LEADER: Holly Clyburn plays a deft chip to make an up and down on the 17th hole on her way to an opening round 67 in the Australian Ladies Classic - Bonville. Brad Greenshields

Clyburn takes early Bonville lead with course record

A BLEMISH free round of 67 from England's Holly Clyburn has seen her take the lead after the opening round of the Australian Ladies Classic - Bonville.

After teeing off in the morning on the ninth hole, Clyburn made three straight birdies toward the end of her round, starting with the par-3 5th to create a new course record.

> > > Scroll down to photos from this morning's play in the Australian Ladies Classic - Bonville

In her first competitive outing at Bonville Golf Resort, the 27 year-old said it wasn't as easy as it looked.

"My iron play was pretty nice today and when I had the chance to hole some putts they did what they were told and went in," Clyburn said.

"I just kept in the moment, kept digging deep and I played nicely coming in from the sixth. It was lovely."

> > > Leaderboard

Two shots behind Clyburn on the leaderboard are Spain's Marta Sanz Barrio and Valdis Thora Jonsdottir from Iceland.

Usually quietly spoken, the diminutive Sanz Barrio let her clubs do the talking this morning with five birdies making up for her bogies on the 2nd and 16th holes.

"It's been a rough couple of weeks but it's nice for me to find it today," she said.

Dame Laura Davies used her decades of experience to post a solid round of one-under par, to be one of only 20 players for the day to beat par.

"If you make a mistake (here) you are going to get punished. I didn't make many mistakes, so one-under is a fair result. I could've had a couple more (birdies), but overall I'm really pleased."

> > > 15 year-old makes a hole-in-one in opening round at Bonville

Having reached the green on the 18th hole with just a 7-iron for her second shot, Davies was one of many who three-putted the green placed in front of the clubhouse with the pin tucked deep back left.

"18 is extreme," Davies said.

"I'm not saying they shouldn't have a pin back there, but gee it's pretty tough. The only place you can hit it in hindsight is short dead uphill. Otherwise, you've got your work cut out."

Of the Australians, pre-tournament favourite Hannah Green carded a two-under par round of 70 to be in a tie for fourth alongside fellow Aussie Stephanie Na.

The West Australian birdied her final two holes in a strong finish.

"It's tough. There are some tricky pin positions out there," the 21 year-old said.

"The greens were good. But it's tough to get it close sometimes.

"I didn't think I hit it very well today but to be in contention at two-under makes me very happy."

The shot of the day belonged to a 15 year-old amateur who made the shot over the water on the par-3 17th look simple while playing in only her second professional tournament.

Belinda Ji made an ace, coming seven years after she made her first hole-in-one.

"I struck it really well, it was a good flight. Just straight on line, one bounce and it hopped in," she said.

LEADERBOARD

67: Holly Clyburn (ENG)
69: Marta Sanz Barrio (ESP), Valdis Thora Jonsdottir (ISL)
70: Celine Boutier (FRA), Xi Yu Lin (CHN), Stephanie Na (AUS), Hannah Green (AUS), Nanna Madsen (DNK), Sharmilla Nicolet (IND), Ana Menendez (MEX), Olivia Cowan (GER)
71: Justine Dreher (FRA), Jenny Haglund (SWE), Jihye Park (a) (AUS), Laura Davies (ENG), Ines Lescudier (FRA), Manon Molle (FRA), Florentyna Parker (ENG), Emma Nilsson (SWE), Isabelle Boineau (FRA)



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