Lee has 65 reasons to smile after her brilliant opening salvo

Meena Lee holds a two-stroke advantage at the top of the opening-day leaderboard after making a fine start to the British Women's Open at Carnoustie yesterday.

The world No 54 recorded a seven-under-par round of 65 that included seven birdies and no dropped shots to leave the South Korean as the early pacesetter. "My feel was really good today and also my putting was good," Lee said. "I like links golf. It's very different to what we play on the LPGA Tour and I really enjoyed it today, despite the weather."

Lee's nearest challenger is Brittany Lincicome, who produced a fine late flourish as she carded a five-under-par 67.

The American was even par heading into the final seven holes after carding two birdies and two bogeys, but she finished with four birdies and an eagle three at the par-five 15th to leap up into second place on her own.

Four players share third spot with Angela Stanford, Amy Yang, Caroline Masson and Sophie Gustafson each carding rounds of 68 despite all dropping shots late on in their rounds.

American Paula Creamer, the ninth ranked player in the world, is one of eight players who shot a three-under-par 69 to lie in joint seventh place, although she might have hoped to be further up the standings after firing two eagles – on the par-fives at the sixth and 17th. However, she also carded a double-bogey six at the seventh and a bogey at the 18th to leave her four shots off leader Lee.

The leading Britons on the opening day were Scotland's Catriona Matthew and Becky Brewerton of Wales, who were both on two under par. England's Melissa Reid, who is currently fourth on the Ladies European Tour money list, shot a two-over-par 75 after carding two double-bogeys and three bogeys along with four birdies.

Yani Tseng also has work to do after signing for a one-under-par round of 71 as she looks to become the first person to successfully defend the British Open since Sherri Steinhauer in 1999.

The world No 1 from Taiwan, who has six victories already this year, was two under at the turn but dropped shots at the 14th and 16th saw her slip back to level par before finishing with a birdie on the 18th.