Lee heads Aussie US Open charge

Karrie Webb
Karrie Webb is getting closer to rediscovering her brilliant best. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

A strong Australian contingent is well placed after a testing and rain-marred first day at the US Women's Open.

Soaring temperatures, sapping humidity and driving rain combined to rob more than two hours of play at Bedminster, New Jersey, leaving two young Aussies out on course when bad light ended play.

But the names Aussie golf fans expected to see prominent all managed to get around and do no damage to their chances.

Perth's Minjee Lee was impressive in carding a bogey-free three-under-par 69 early on the first day when conditions were at their best.

At the same time, Shanshan Feng carved out a spectacular 66 to lead by one as she seeks a second major championship after her 2012 Women's PGA Championship.

But hot on her heels are a host of big names including former Gold Coast schoolgirl Amy Yang (67), long-time world No.1 Lydia Ko and the incumbent at that lofty perch, So-Yeon Ryu, who each carded 68s.

Well in the mix, too, is last week's winner Katherine Kirk, of Queensland, who had a rollercoaster round but finished T14 with an entertaining 70 featuring six birdies.

Victorian Su Oh had reached three under midway through her round, but a closing bogey as darkness fell left her with a 71 and plenty of hope.

Conversely, Sarah Jane Smith made birdies at two of her final three holes to sign for a 72 after being in early trouble and, with her propensity to make clumps of birdies, she, too, remains in the hunt.

Her fellow Queenslander Karrie Webb, who began her round on the 10th, was one under through 11 holes, but a hat-trick of bogeys from the third left her back at two over.

Another Queenslander, the University of Colorado student Robyn Choi, will resume on the 16th hole at five over par and in desperate need of her first birdie.

Texas-based Victorian amateur Anne Chen, remarkably playing in her third consecutive US Open aged just 15, had recovered well from an early double and two other bogeys to be two over on the 13th tee.

But Chen suffered a septuple-bogey 11 on the testing par-four and will resume at nine over on the 17th hole.

LEADERBOARD

Queensland Golf