Australian star Minjee Lee, pictured above, took advantage of the glorious weather conditions at Royal Lytham and St Annes Golf Club, Lancashire this afternoon to shoot a sizzling seven-under-par 65 to lead after the first round of the Ricoh Women’s British Open.
Lee is one stroke clear of Japan’s Mamiko Higa, with England’s Georgia Hall tied for third place only two shots from the lead.
It looked as though the 22-year-old from Perth, Western Australia, who has already won twice this year, at the Vic Open in February and at the LPGA Volvik Championship in May, was heading for a record- breaking performance after she made six birdies and an eagle in her first 16 holes, to reach eight-under-par. The highlight of her round was undoubtedly her eagle putt from 27 feet on the par-5 16th green. However, she dropped a shot at the difficult par-4 17th after taking four strokes to reach the greenside bunker, which was her only bogey on the card.
Lee has had a superb 2018 season to date. However her form in the major championships has been disappointing this year with finishes of 25th, 34th and 25th in the three majors played so far. 
Lee’s best finish in her four Women’s British Open appearances to date came three years ago in her rookie season when she finished in a tie for ninth place at Turnberry.
The world No.8, who finished as the runner-up to the world No.1 Ariya Jutanugarn after a tight battle in wet and windy conditions in the Aberdeen Standard Investment Ladies Scottish Open over the weekend, is no stranger to links courses and looking for her first Major title. 
She said: “I played pretty solid today. I holed a lot of putts.”
On a day of contrasting weather conditions, she admitted: “I think we got pretty lucky with the weather, and hopefully we’ll get lucky tomorrow, too.”
Higa and Hall also played in the wall-to-wall sunshine and Hall, who tied for third place last year at Kingsbarns, was pleased with her flawless scorecard.
The 2017 LET Player of the Year, who had her father Wayne as her caddie, said: “I just love coming back here and I have a lot of confidence from last year. And like my first tee shot I knocked it to a foot, so I was like confident from then, I think, and this golf course is really, really tough, and to play the round bogey free I’m actually really happy.”.
Earlier in the day, the morning starters played in overcast and rainy conditions. Germany’s Sandra Gal set the target at four-under par and was later joined by Mina Harigae and Lydia Ko.
Florentyna Parker, whose home course is Royal Birkdale, another championship links, made a hole-in-one at the ninth using an 8-iron. She is on three under par.