Originally created 02/28/03

Davies leads Women's Australian Open



SYDNEY, Australia -- Laura Davies is off to a good start in her bid to win a second straight tournament.

With a 7-under-par 65 in the wind Thursday, Davies took a one-shot lead over Belgium's Valerie Van Ryckeghem after the first round of the Women's Australian Open.

Davies is coming off last week's victory in the ANZ Ladies Masters.

Mexico's Lorena Ochoa was two shots back at 67, along with England's Alison Nicholas, Wales' Becky Morgan and Australia's Rebecca Coakley. Defending champion Karrie Webb had a 69.

The long-hitting Davies used her driver only eight times on the Terrey Hills course.

"I used a lot of irons on the tee because with the wind I figured I didn't really need any extra length," Davies said. "I hit driver when I needed it and irons when it was sensible and it worked perfectly, 7 under in an Open is never a bad thing."

Webb had three birdies in a bogey-free round.

"I didn't drive it particularly well, but I only missed three greens," the Australian said. "I just didn't give myself realistic birdie chances."

Ochoa offset a double bogey on the par-3 15th with an eagle in the par-5 ninth.

"I'm super happy," the former University of Arizona player said. "It was my first time playing with Karrie Webb and it was fun - a fine group."

American Kelly Robbins shot a 68.