Queensland’s Sarah Jane Smith shot a superb opening round of five-under-par 67 to sit in a three-way tie for the lead after round one of the 2018 US Women’s Open at Shoal Creek in Alabama.

The 33-year-old, who was born in Geelong, grew up on the Sunshine Coast and now calls Orlando in Florida home, kick-started her round today at the par 5 11th hole after a solid but unspectacular start, when she holed out from the fairway for an eagle, before making birdies at the 13th, 14th and 17th to card an impressive opening round five-under-par 67.

Smith shared the first-round lead with Thai star Ariya Jutanugarn and Korean Jeongeun Lee6.

The normally consistent Smith had missed the cut in four of her last five starts heading into this week and said that the key was getting a solid first round under her belt. “The last few weeks have been pretty rough,” she said. “So it’s nice to get a good start to a tournament. That’s been the problem, digging myself a hole from the very beginning.”
Smith had extended her lead to five strokes ahead of Jutanugarn, who was yet to start her second round, after playing the back nine in 31, five-under-par, on Friday morning.

Amateur Linn Grant, who won the European qualifier at the Buckinghamshire last month, was in third place on three-under-par and looking to make it a hat-trick of three straight Swedish Major champions, following Anna Nordqvist at the 2017 Evian Championship and Pernilla Lindberg at the 2018 ANA Inspiration.