The two-time LET winner carded a three-under-par 69 at Aloha Golf Club in Marbella to sit joint seventh, four shots behind the leader, Germany’s Olivia Cowan, at the end of the first day.
Henry, who said she’d felt “unemployed” in recent seasons due to a lack of playing opportunities on the LET but is now excited about the future, made her score with a burst of three birdies in a row on the front nine.
Cowan shot a career-best seven-under-par 65 to take a slim lead over Norwegian, the LET Order of Merit leader, in the penultimate event of the season.
“It’s not every day you shoot seven-under, but I knew I was playing well,” said Cowan. “It was solid and I was two-under on the front nine, so I was trying to stay patient. The second nine went very well, and I holed out (for an eagle) on hole 12.”
Skarpnord limped round during her 66, then took her shoes off during her post-round interview to relieve the pain. “I’ve had a shoe issue all year, so I think I might be on my sixth or seventh pair of shoes and this week I’ve got blisters,” she said, before exposing her heels to demonstrate. “I played well today, though, and hit all the fairways, which is not normal for me, so I’m quite happy with that.”
Michele Thomson was next best among the Scottish contingent with a 73, followed by Catriona Matthew (74), Carly Booth (75) and Kelsey Macdonald (78).
l Jack McDonald signed off with a 68 to secure a top-10 finish in the MENA Tour’s Journey to Jordan Championship at Ayla Golf Club in Aqaba.
The five-birdie closing salvo left the Ayrshireman in sixth spot on seven-under, four shots behind the winner, England’s Harry Konig.