World No.2 Suzann Pettersen has fired a six-under 66 to take the first-round lead in the women’s Australian Open golf tournament.
Norwegian Suzann Pettersen believes she has the brawn and brains to win the women’s Australian Open crown after storming to the first-round lead.
The world No.2 lived up to her top billing at the Victoria Golf Course on Thursday, signing for a six-under-par 66 that included nine birdies.
She was a shot clear of 2012 champion Jessica Korda, fellow American Jaclyn Sweeney and Korean Hee Young Park.
Unheralded Frenchwoman Marion Ricordeau briefly challenged at six-under before a late bogey and then double bogey saw her fall away.
Australia’s best was Sarah Jane Smith and promising local amateur Minjee Lee, who were in a group with Kiwi prodigy Lydia Ko at four-under.
After her round, a confident Pettersen was asked about a drive on the 13th that travelled about 280m.
“Have you not see my guns?,” she asked, flexing for the assembled media.
“That’s all I’ve been doing this off season.”
The gym work has paid off with a faster swing and more energy as she tries to better four LPGA victories – including her second major win at The Evian Championship – last year.
Korean Inbee Park is the current world No.1 but not playing in Melbourne and dependent on results, Pettersen could surpass her to take the top ranking.
Pettersen said being No.1 wasn’t her goal and that she didn’t measure herself against other female players.
“I don’t really care,” the 32-year-old said.
“I really just want to see how good I can be.
“I know I’m good if I play like I did today and trust my swing and what I’m working on and I just want to see how far I can get.
“I don’t measure myself up against my competitors, I measure my game towards the guys because I think I have the most to learn from them.”
She said that she felt men were more “creative” with the golf ball, which was how she tried to play.
“I don’t just kind of hit a straight shot, I usually work the ball towards certain pins and I just feel like I learn a lot from watching the best male golfers play.
“You can see how they’re using their different shot making to attack certain pins.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to play and practice with the best guys in the world and learn a lot.”
Queensland veteran Karrie Webb carded a one-under 71 with a birdie on her final hole.
Smith was happy and felt she had started the year in good form, placing sixth in the New Zealand Open earlier this month.
“I love playing in Melbourne and I’ve really been looking forward to this week,” the 29-year-old said.
“I was born in Geelong before my family moved to Queensland so it always feels a little bit like home.”