Lee played in the afternoon on day one and actually reached 8 under par after an eagle at the par 5 15th following a hybrid to 25 feet and one final birdie from even longer range at the short par 4 16th after an almost faultless display to that point but she would drop a shot at the demanding 17th.
It was however a very impressive start and following on from her near miss in Scotland last week she was quickly back into contention with an outward nine of 32 and further progress from there.
“I definitely holed a lot of putts today from quite far away and I have been doing good course management,” said Lee when asked the key to her opening round.
Tied for 3rd one shot behind Higa is a group of five players at 5 under namely Sung Hyun Park, England’s Georgia Hall, Taiwan’s Teresa Lu Koreans Sung Hyun Park and Mi Hyang Lee and Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum.
New Zealand's Lydia Ko showed improvement with a round of 4 under to be in a share of 8th place after her round of 4 under par 68.
Amongst the pre-tournament favourites So Yeon Ryu is at 3 under and world number one Ariya Jutanugarn at 1 under.
Other Australians in the field are Rebecca Artis at even par, Su Oh at 1 over, Sarah Kemp at 2 over, Katherine Kirk and Hannah Green at 3 over and Sarah Jane Smith and Karrie Webb at 5 over.
FEATURE CLUB: SANCTUARY COVES PALMS COURSE
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