The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Jessica Korda, Katie Burnett lead Ladies Australian Masters

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GOLD COAST, Australia - American Jessica Korda sustained her strong early-season form to share the lead with compatriot Katie Burnett after Thursday's first round of the Ladies Australian Masters.

After winning the season-opening LPGA event in the Bahamas last week, the 20-year-old Korda carded eight birdies and three bogeys in a 5-under 68.

Korda won the 2012 Australian Open and again showed her liking for Australian conditions, holding the outright lead until Burnett closed with birdies on her last two holes.

They were a stroke ahead of Valentine Derrey of France finished with an eagle on 18 to card a 4-under 69, matched by American Cheyenne Woods, South Africans Stacey Lee Bregman and Lee-Anne Pace and Canadian Lorie Kane.

Defending champion and eight-time tournament-winner Karrie Webb of Austalia shot a first round 74; six shots off the pace.

"It was a tricky day," Webb said. "Not a disaster though.

"That's my first round (for 2014) under the belt and we'll see how the rest of the tournament goes."

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