The golfing great's quest for a sixth Australian Open crown has begun with a five-under 67 in Thursday's opening round.

Webb landed five birdies in a hot seven-hole stretch at The Grange Golf Club in Adelaide and is two shots adrift of the clubhouse leader, England's Jodi Ewart Shadoff.

South Korean Jin Young Ko made a solid start to her title defence with a four-under 68 as Australia's top-ranked golfer, World No.7 Minjee Lee, signed for a one-under 71.


The 44-year-old Webb had just one blemish in her round – a bogey on her 15th hole – and shares second place with Swede Madelene Sagstrom.

"It's not easy to get off to a good start and be in position from day one and not feel like you're catching up on Friday," Webb said.

"I hit some good shots and saw some putts go in so I felt really comfortable there for about 11 holes.

"Then it got a little scratchy there through the middle. But I hung in there and managed to birdie the 8th, which was my second-last hole, which is a nice way to finish.

"I made the most of the opportunities I had."

RIGHT: Ewart Shadoff holds the clubhouse lead at The Grange after opening with seven-under 65. PHOTO: Mark Brake/Getty Images.

Also cashing in on calm morning conditions was Ewart Shadoff – the World No.59 shot seven birdies in a stellar opening round of 65.

"It was perfect conditions ... I hit some really close shots and holed some good putts," she said.

"I shot four birdies in a row right in the middle of my round and overall I just hit the ball well."

World No.1 Ariya Jutanugarn opened her afternoon round with a birdie followed by a double-bogey while West Australian Hannah Green has reeled off three consecutive birdies to be three under after five holes.

- Steve Larkin, Australian Associated Press