Kristie Smith

Smith led after the second round at Kingston Heath last year but has struggled with her putting in recent months. She has reaped the benefits of changing to a cross handed putting style in the last fortnight and said: “I’m pretty stoked with that round to be honest with you. My best round ever is 66 so I’ve just broken it by four shots, which is very nice.” Her previous best round of 66 was recorded on the same golf course, as a junior, in 2005.

For 26-year-old Queenslander Hull, a 67 that included six birdies and one bogey was simple. “The two greens that I missed I was putting anyway so nothing too complicated,” she said.

After a successful last year in America, Hull would love kick start her 2009 season with a win on home turf. “Growing up as a kid you dream about winning the ANZ Ladies Masters or Aussie Open; it’s just what you do. It’s a huge goal of mine this year to keep doing what I’m doing and be patient,” she said. “There is still room for improvement. I’ll be going back to practise this afternoon to try and get a bit better. I’ll be on the driving range and working on my short game. There is still work that needs to be done.”

After two warm and balmy days on the Gold Coast, Finland’s Ursula Wikstrom shared fourth place with first round co-leader Lee-Anne Pace of South Africa on seven-under-par. Norway’s Marianne Skapnord, who also shared a four-way tie for the first round lead finished the day tied for eighth on five-under-par, while Wales’ Becky Brewerton slipped to a 73 and shared 12th place. South Korean Il-Hee Lee dropped back to equal 20th place on three-under after a 74. Karrie Webb finished the day on one-under-par in a share of 39th place.