Hot start for veteran Davies at Vic Open

Bruce Matthews
English veteran Laura Davies has made a promising return to golf at the Vic Open

English golf great Laura Davies has defied age and a pre-dawn alarm clock reminder to make an early appearance on the leaderboard at the Vic Open.

Davies, 56, fired a six-under 67 to be two shots off the clubhouse lead in a tie for fifth after the opening rounds on the two courses at 13th Beach Golf Links near Barwon Heads.

"I didn't know what was going to happen, I haven't played a tournament since the Scottish Open in August, so it was nice for me to get out and get a really good round in," Davies said.

Sweden's Madelene Sagstrom shares the lead after shooting a brilliant eight-under 65 on the Creek course, playing alongside Davies and Australian legend Karrie Webb.

Webb struggled to keep pace with that pair and posted a two-over 75.

Davies, 56, a World Golf Hall of Fame member, lauded her new caddie, Australian Rebecca Artis, who retired as an LPGA Tour player last year.

"It's the best I've putted in 20 years. She's a really good green reader, she does that AimPoint, which bamboozles me," Davies said.

"I haven't got a clue what she's up to, but she got the lines right.

"So if I keep striking it like that and she keeps reading it like that, we might have a chance of making the cut and then see what happens."

The women's tournament is co-sanctioned by the US LPGA Tour and the leaderboard has an international flavour.

South Korean Haeji Kang also shot 65 to share the lead with Sagstrom.

Kang is familiar with Australian conditions after spending a large part of her life on Queensland's Gold Coast.

Americans Haley Moore (66) and Dana Finkelstein (67) also made strong starts, taking advantage of the slight breezes that favoured the morning groups on the Beach and Creek courses.

Australian amateur Stephanie Kyriacou led the local contingent with a 68 to sit in a tie for 15th while experienced international representatives Hannah Green and Minjee Lee were a shot further back.