Georgia Hall blazed the back nine with six birdies to lead the Aramco Saudi Ladies International field at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club on Thursday.
The English star carded a course record seven under par 65 to hold a one-stroke lead over Lydia Hall of Wales. A further stroke behind were Finn Ursula Wikstrom and Dane Emily Kristine Pedersen in joint third.
“I’m pleased with today,” Hall said. “I tried to make the most of the morning tee-time. It was still pretty windy in my back nine but I’m very happy with my round.
“I got off to a very fast start and managed to keep the putts going in the hole, which is always a good thing.
“My pace putting was very good today, so hopefully I can bring that into tomorrow. I think it’s going to be pretty windy tomorrow afternoon like this afternoon, so I’ll have to play it a little ‘Linksy’ I think.”
Lydia, who carded eight birdies in a six-under 66, was also pleased with her opening day’s play.
“I got off to a fast start in the back nine – my front nine – and I think it was the nicer nine to play to get the score going,” she said.
“It was definitely an advantage to start on hole ten this morning as you didn’t have much of a wind, the holes are a little shorter and there’s not many going into the wind.
“I’ve been playing fairly solidly over the last couple of weeks even though scores haven’t showed. But I putted really well today as you can see from the score."
Sweden's Linda Wessberg, Tonje Daffinrud of Norway and Nobuhle Dlamini – Swaziland’s first-ever professional golfer – all sit on three under par.