Australia is eight shots behind surprise leader Hong Kong after the first round of the Queen Sirikit Cup.
Hannah Green (73), Becky Kay (74) and Liz Elmassian (74) are all inside the top 17 individually after the opening day at the Hong Kong Golf Club on Wednesday.
But the hosts rejoiced in rounds by leader Isabella Leung (69) and Tiffany Chan (70) to send them clear at 139 with the best two of three scores each day from each of the 13 Asian-Pacific countries counting towards the team total.
Powerhouse and favourite Korea was second with each of Eun Soo Jang, Hyun Kyung Park and Joung Eun Lee firing 70 to have them outright second at 140.
Thailand is third on 144, New Zealand fourth on 145 and Indonesia fifth on 146.
Australia is in a three-way tie for sixth on 147 alongside Philippines and India.