Korda, fresh from her Olympic triumph in Tokyo, continued her dazzling form by taming the famous Scottish links with a classy morning round of five-under-par 67 to share opening day honours on Thursday with Sweden's Madelene Sagstrom and South Korea's Sei Young Kim.

Nobody can currently really afford to give a head start to Korda, who's a combined 87-under-par for her last 21 rounds – a run that included the KPMG Women's PGA and Olympic victories.

But most of the eight-strong Aussie contingent still have the game's newest superstar in their distant sights.

"You strive to be at the top so it feels good, but you kind of know that you have a target on your back. I just have to keep positive and see how it goes." - Nelly Korda.

They were headed by newly-minted major champion Lee and Su Oh, who both shot one-under 71s, while Katherine Kirk and Stephanie Kyriacou are level par, a score never to be sniffed at on a course famed for its cruelty, even on one of its kinder days weather-wise.

They're all chasing Korda, though.

"I'm very happy," said the 23-year-old American.

"You strive to be at the top so it feels good, but you kind of know that you have a target on your back. I just have to keep positive and see how it goes.

"It was very chilly in the morning – that was the only thing against us today – but the wind kept calm and I took advantage of it."

So did Lee as she chases back-to-back major championships and the biggest purse in women's golf history – but the 25-year-old rued dropping five shots in a horror three-hole stretch around the turn.

Riding high after her stunning come-from-behind breakthrough at last month's Evian Championship in France, Lee had a roller-coaster ride that saw her open with three birdies in six holes, suffer double bogeys at the eighth and 10th, record an eagle at the par-five 12th, and a near hole-in-one at the beastly par-3 16th.

"I would probably sum it up as eventful," Lee smiled about her adventure.

Melbourne's Oh definitely bought into the idea that Carnoustie is golf's biggest test but was delighted to "get lucky" at the 15th when she holed her 7-iron approach from 155 metres for an eagle two that transformed her round.

"I would probably sum it up as eventful."  Minjee Lee.

"I didn't actually hit it that great but once it lands, it feeds to the hole. I just saw it bounce a couple times, and I was like, 'oh that might be all right'. Then the crowd were like, ‘woo, it's in the hole!' – and I was really happy," she beamed.

Kyriacou missed a few chances but savoured her first taste of the "brutal" links.

"I had quite a few putts roll over the edge," she said. "If I get my putter going, I could go low tomorrow."

Brisbane's Kirk was another who had an uneven day, five birdies going alongside five bogeys.

Lee's Olympic teammate Hannah Green went out of bounds for a double bogey on the sixth en route to a 73, while Whitney Hillier will rue a similar double at 17 which saw her also end up at one-over, just four holes after she'd been pondering a 70.

Aussie amateur Kirsten Rudgeley endured a nightmare major debut, signing for a 14-over 86, featuring two doubles, 10 bogeys, just six pars and not a single birdie.