A county golf star has been backed by one of the game's all-time greats.

Jack Nicklaus, an 18-time Major champion during his illustrious career, gave his backing to North Berwick ace Catriona Matthew.

Matthew is bidding to win the ISPS Handa Australian Women's Open at the age of 46, the same age Nicklaus claimed his last major title.

The county star has a share of the lead at the half-way stage, after carding rounds of 67 and 69 in her opening two rounds at The Grange.

She sits on top of the leaderboard with England's Holly Clyburn, 21 years her junior, both on eight-under-par.

And Nicklaus, now 76, wrote on Twitter: "Hang in there and don't give up, finish strong!

"Everyone wrote me off at 46."

The leading duo are one shot ahead of China's Si Yu Lin and Germany's Caroline Masson after the opening two rounds.

Matthew is bidding to regain the crown she claimed two decades ago at Yarra Yarra, and has husband Graeme as her caddy for the tournament.