The Race to Costa del Sol leader, joint third overnight, had started with a bogey on the 10th but picked up the pace over the back nine in the calmer morning conditions to finish with an eagle three and sign for 68.

"It's always nice to finish like that," Pedersen said after moving to nine under for the tournament.

The Australian challenge faded somewhat as teenager Stephanie Kyriacou shot a 73 after her opening round of 71 to stand 19th equal in the field on level par. Whitney Hillier shot 76 to drop back to 32nd.

Wales' Lydia Hall is just two strokes behind Pedersen following her round of 71, which would have been lower but for successive bogeys over the front nine.

England's Georgia Hall had set a course record 65 to take the first-round lead but the 2018 Women's Open champion dropped back to third at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club after a one-over 73.