Rising Australian Cypriot star Steph Kyriacou has used her intimate course knowledge to lead the local charge at the Australian Open in Sydney.
A member at The Lakes, Kyriacou played her home course superbly to post a four-under 69 and sit just one shot behind Korean first-round clubhouse leader Jiyai Shin.
Open favourite Minjee Lee mounted a spirited back-nine fightback to card a three-under 70 and keep the dream alive of her and brother Min Woo completing an historic sibling double at the $3.4 million dual-gender event.
After starting on the 10th and moving to two under through five holes, Lee seemed unsettled by a three-putt bogey on the 15th.
That preceded another dropped shot on the 17th before a dreaded double-bogey on 18 dropped Lee back to two over heading to the turn.
But the world No.5 and dual major championship winner fashioned six birdies coming home, including one at the last to ice her round.
Japan’s Ayaka Sugihara landed the first ace of the tournament, holing out from 144 metres with a seven iron at the par-3 11th at The Australian.
But she could still only manage a two-over 74 to be seven shots adrift of the leader.
The highlight of Kyriacou’s steady round was an eagle three at the par-3 third hole to go with three birdies and her only bogey on No.18.
“It was a pretty solid round,” she said.
“I was pretty nervous on the first and it took me a few holes to settle in, but then as it kind of goes on everyone’s just walking along and the nerves eased down.
“But it still wasn’t like normal. A bit of adrenaline too. I feel like I didn’t even hit it my best, so I’m going to go work on that and then hopefully (go) a bit lower tomorrow.”