GOLD COAST, Australia -- American Alison Walshe birdied the 17th hole for an opening-round 6-under-par 66 to take a one-stroke lead in the Australian Ladies Masters at Royal Pines on Friday.
In second was Jessica Korda, the daughter of former tennis player Petr Korda who won last year's Women's Australian Open at Royal Melbourne in a playoff for her first U.S. LPGA Tour victory.
Spain's Belen Mozo, Australia's Stacy Keating, American Dori Carter and Thailand's Nontaya Srisawang were two strokes behind with 68s.
Walshe was born in Ireland but moved to the United States when she was three. She is in her third year on the U.S. tour.
"I guess it was luck of the draw being late, but it was all right," Walshe said of her afternoon start when the course had dried out after heavy rains.
"I was up early because of the jet lag, so I had some coffee and went to the gym, and then I got here, had some lunch and warmed up. It wasn't too bad actually."
Seven-time champion Karrie Webb was in a large group with 70s, four strokes behind, in the season-opening event of the Ladies European Tour and Australian circuit.
Cheyenne Woods, Tiger Woods' niece, shot 74.
"It's nice to have the first round of the season under my belt and for it to be a good one, but still a lot of rust to shake off," said Korda, who held the clubhouse lead for most of the day before Walshe's late surge.
The European and Australian tours will team again next week for the New Zealand Women's Open in Christchurch, then join the U.S. LPGA Tour the following week for the Women's Australian Open at Royal Canberra.