Davies took her anger out on the pine needles course with four birdies in a 68 for a two over par 142, but she could not match the 67 of Sweden's Annika Sorenstam and goes into the final 36 holes trailing by five shots in her quest for a second successive major championship.
But the scowls of the first day turned to smiles even though she failed to take full advantage of a superb start which yielded three birdies in the first four holes. She played the remaining 14 holes in one over par and only kept a tenuous touch on a fourth Grand Slam title thanks to a 15-foot birdie on the 18th.
''That was much more enjoyable,'' said Davies, who was still irritated at being put out in the final groups on Thursday at the demand of American television. She added: "We kept moving and that's the way the game should be played.''
Davies sank three birdie putts of between 10 and 20 feet to launch her charge which was halted at the sixth where her ball finished against an occupied shooting stick. She was allowed to replace the ball and, after having done so, it rolled into the hole created by the stick.
"That was a bad break,'' she said. "I really thought I could chip into the hole for a birdie and suddenly I didn't have a shot at all. I did well to make bogey and I lost my momentum. Now I think I will need a couple of 67s to catch Annika, she will be tough to beat from that position.''
Sorenstam had five birdies for a three below 137 to forge three ahead of the American trio Jane Geddes (69), Brandy Burton (70) and Emily Klein (69).
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