Catriona Matthew shot a 73 in the first round of the final major of the women’s season, but it left her ten shots behind joint leaders In Gee Chun and Sung Hyun Park at the Evian Championship in France.
Over the years, Matthew’s scorecards have rarely managed to match the beauty of the course overlooking Lake Geneva. Starting on the back nine, she did manage two birdies – from five feet at the 12th and 16th – but also had four bogeys.
“I didn’t drive it too well and I also missed a lot of chances,” said the new Olympian. But she was pleasantly surprised by the weather, a dreadful forecast turning out to be little more than an early shower of rain.
South Koreans Park and Chun did manage to paint a pretty picture on the scoreboard, both posting flawless eight birdie rounds for a one-shot lead over American rookie Annie Park and China’s Shanshan Feng.
Chun finished eighth at the Women’s British Open at Woburn and has had top tens in the two most recent LPGA tournaments. In between, she finished 13th at the Olympics
“Rio was great,” she said of golf’s reintroduction to the Olympics.
“It made me very proud to wear the national flag and golf became fun again.
“I was nervous at the start of today’s round and it was wet and windy. But the rain cleared and I played really well.”
Charley Hull, who played alongside Matthew for Team GB at the Olympics, looked set to finish high on the leaderboard when she covered the first 15 holes in four under par.
But she dumped her tee shot in water and took a triple-bogey six at the short 16th and then shed another stroke at the 18th for a 71.
“I’m playing pretty well. It was a shame about the last couple of holes but I’m still quite happy with my round,” said the 20-year-old. “I’m out early tomorrow so hopefully I can go out and post a low one. Hopefully the rain holds off.’
Laura Davies, who twice won the title in its previous guise as the Evian Masters, was the leading Briton on 69, a fine birdie at the last keeping her just about in sight of the leaders.