(Salamander Bay, Australia February 13 2003) A trio of Australians share the lead at the Aus$100,000 ALPG Tour Championship at Horizons GC after posting five under par 68s in hot and steamy conditions near Newcastle.

Hyett – It must have been the red wine!

And in one of the last groups of the day, Tamara Hyett, who finished 7th at the Evian Tour Qualifying school last October, closed with her sixth birdie of the day at the final hole to join her compatriots.

“I’ve been practising a lot from 80 metres and in recently and that paid off today,” said Hyett, who possesses a rhythmical and powerful swing.

“I’ve been peppering the pin all day, which is always nice. It must have been that good dinner and a couple of glasses of red wine last night!”

But with perfect conditions on the course, the pack is close behind. Scotland’s Julie Forbes posted a four under par 69 to sit alongside England’s Georgina Simpson and Australian Lorraine Lambert. And Marine Monnet from France fills the gap on three under.

Laura Davies put behind the misery of witnessing England’s defeat at the hands of the Socceroos in the football – and a triple bogey eight at the 12th – to post a gutsy 71 for two under, keeping her in contention for the 65th worldwide title.

Joining Davies was Solheim Cup partners Trish Johnson and Swedes Sophie Gustafson and Maria Hjorth, Paula Marti from Spain and Australian’s Corinne Dibnah, and the snappily dressed Australian Carlie Butler, who one fan described as “looking as if she’s just stepped out of a nightclub!”

Leading first round scores (Aus unless stated):

68 – Rachel Teske, Melissa Bransdon, Tamara Hyett 69 – Julie Forbes (Gbr), Loraine Lambert, Georgina Simpson (Gbr) 70 – Marine Monnet (Fra) 71 – Marlene Hedblom (Swe), Rikka Hakkarainen (Fin), Laura Davies (Gbr) 72 – Trish Johnson (Gbr), Carlie Butler, Sophie Gustafson (Swe), Corrine Dibnah, Maria Hjorth (Swe), Jehanne Jail (Fra), Paula Marti (Spa), Tamie Durdin, Nicole James, Adele Bannerman, Miriam Nagl (Net), Joanne Mills, Shani Waugh, Nicola Moult (Gbr) 73 – Nina Karlsson (Swe), Valerie van Ryckeghem (Bel), Gina Scott (Nzl), Becky Morgan (Gbr), Nadina Taylor, Kerry Knowles (Gbr), Maria Boden (Swe), Samantha Head (Gbr), Iben Tinning (Den), Natalie Parkinson 74 – Kathryn Marshall (Gbr), Elisabeth Esterl (Ger), Gwladys Nocera (Fra), Marnie McGuire (Nzl), Cherie Byrnes (Aus), Rebecca Stevenson, Joanne Morley (Gbr), Johanna Head (Gbr), Kirsty Taylor (Gbr), Eleanor Pilgrim (Gbr), Rebecca Coakley, Catherine Knight (Nzl), Michelle Ellis, Nicole Stillig (Ger)

Other GB and I scores: 75 – Caroline Hall, Dale Reid 76 – Diane Barnard 77 – Kirsty Fisher, Sarah Bennett 78 – Alison Nicholas 79 – Kirsty S Taylor 80 – Wendy Dicks 85 – Rachel Bailey