Australia's Karis Davidson has taken full advantage of a hot putter to grab a share of the lead at the ISPS HANDA World Invitational on a windy day one of the event that follows the Vic Open model.
Co-sanctioned by the DP World Tour, LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour, Davidson’s 4-under round sees her tied with Ellinor Sudow, Kim Metraux and Gabriella Cowley.
All four leaders playing Castlerock Golf Club on day one with the primary host course for the week Galgorm Castle playing the more difficult of the two on Thursday.
Davidson wasted no time taking advantage of her early tee time, making a birdie at the par-4 opening hole. The 25-year-old gave that shot back at the next before proceeding to make three birdies over the next four holes and eventually make the turn in 3-under 33.
“Front nine holed a couple long putts, which was nice, and obviously teeing off early we got a little bit fortunate that the wind wasn't too strong,” the Queenslander said.
The back nine was a far different story as the wind whipped up and searching for birdies became grinding for pars, Davidson doing just that on eight occasions and adding a lone birdie at the par-5 17th to sign for 69.
“It was downwind and in the practice round it was into the wind, so in the practice round we were hitting 3-wood and today I was hitting 8-iron, so it was quite different,” Davidson said of the 17th.
“And then just hit it left of the green and made a two-putt.”
Currently 100th on the Race To CME Globe standings, Davidson is certainly not getting ahead of herself over a first-round lead.
“I'm just going to try and keep doing my own game and try not to think about that too much. But it is nice to see it up there for a change.”
Su Oh is the next best of the Australians in a tie for 13th at 1-under, while on the men’s side Jordan Zunic sits in a tie for 14th at 2-under.
The Asian Tour is in action not far away in Northern England, where there is plenty of Australian flags high on the leaderboard. Matt Jones and Zach Murray lead the charge sharing sixth at 2-under, with Wade Ormsby, Jack Thompson and Terry Pilkadaris a shot further back tied for 16th, alongside Kiwi Ben Campbell.
Chasing a spot at the PGA TOUR’s season-ending Tour Championship, Jason Day improved his chances of making the 30 player cut off with his first round 1-under (T18) at the BMW Championship moving his projected ranking up three places to 18th.
Meanwhile Cam Davis’ 3-over 73 pushed him back two places to a projected 47th place.