Australia’s Katherine Hull

Webb, who is aiming to capture her fourth national title, summed it up: “It was not the nice, sunny day you’d like to play for your first round of the year but I’ll take one under. I am pretty happy with the way things turned out today.

“It played much longer today. Obviously it was 10 or 12 degrees cooler and damp so the ball did not go as far.”

Webb wove five birdies with four bogeys for her 72 and tied for fifth place with fellow Australians Michelle Ellis, Lindsey Wright, Frances Bondad and amateur Kristie Smith, as well as South Korean hotshot Ji-Yai Shin.

Finland’s Minea Blomqvist and English rookie Melissa Reid were also in the mix on level par 73 and tied for 11th place with Australian professional Sarah Oh and local amateur Alison Whitaker. Meanwhile England’s Laura Davies was a shot further back in a share of 15th on one-over 74.