Coakley putting on the seventh green at Suzhou Taihu GC


“I think the key today was just having control of the golf ball. It was very windy but I just hit fairways and greens and a couple of greens that I did miss, I missed in the right places and it was relatively easy to make up and downs,” she said.

Like Bondad, she tied for fifth at the 2009 event and hopes to claim her first victory. “Obviously I’d love to win, but I just take each day as it comes. If I can play like I did today for the next two days, I think I’ll be in contention,” said Coakley, who was raised in Adelaide, Australia.

Laing, 29, from Musselburgh, was three under on the back nine, which she played first, but played the front nine in level par. She said: “I’m very happy with that and I would have taken it on the first tee.”

Fellow Scot Kylie Walker from Glasgow shared seventh place on 70 with Australian Nikki Garrett and the English trio of Florentyna Parker, Felicity Johnson and Sophie Walker.

Parker played in the misty, windy, morning conditions and had her first career hole-in-one at the par-three 14th. Her tee shot landed six metres short of the cup before finding its way into the hole.

“I hit a seven-iron very, very soft and it rolled in like a putt,” said 21-year-old Parker, the ABN AMRO Ladies Open champion who is a member at Royal Birkdale.

The second round begins at 6.30am on Saturday and there will be a cut to the leading 60 professional players and those tied at the completion of 36 holes.