Whitney Hillier and Minjee Lee were the highest-placed Aussies, with a share of 32nd on the leaderboard after carding one-under par rounds of 71 at the course in Milton Keynes, just north of London.

Lee was three-under par after 12 holes but blotted her score with three bogies in the last six holes to sit half-a-dozen shots behind South African pacesetter Ashleigh Buhai, who scored an excellent 65.

Recently crowned Women's PGA Championship winner Hannah Green will need a better second round after also squandering a strong start with a poor back nine to sit way down in 61st spot.

RIGHT: Ashleigh Buhai leads the Women’s British Open after the first round. PHOTO: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images.

Green finished one-over par after making birdies on two of the first three holes, only to register two double bogey sixes and a bogey on the last to leave her battling to make the halfway cut.

Su Oh finished even par for the day along with Sarah Kemp, with the pair two of a clutch of players tied for 46th spot.

Former two-time champion Karrie Webb is also struggling to make the weekend after registering a three-over-par 75 with Katherine Kirk a shot behind after carding a four-over-par 76.

South Korean World No.1 Jin-Young Ko, chasing her third major title this year, is tied for fourth after shooting 68.

- Ian McCullough, Australian Associated Press