Carly Booth continued to reap the rewards of a new relaxed attitude on the golf course as she got off to a promising start in the Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open in Spain.
The two-time LET winner opened with a six-under-par 65 at Club de Golf Terramar in Sitges to sit joint-third, three shots behind playing partner Céline Herbin as the Frenchwoman posted a blistering first-round score.
Booth, who carded an eagle and five birdies, including three in a row from the sixth, finished
11th in her last out in the French Open and was delighted to take up where she’d left off at Golf du Medoc.
“I played solid from tee to green and holed some putts,” said the Comrie woman. “It was great to have Celine as a playing partner as she played so solid and it pushed me on.
“My only goal the last couple of weeks has been to enjoy myself and commit to things. Sometimes those five inches between your ears can take over.
“I’ve been out here for nearly nine years now and I’ve learned a lot. Sometimes I put too much pressure on myself to perform and it doesn’t work so you have to at some point find another way.”
Booth is sitting 96th on the LET money-list this season, having made only two cuts in eight events.
“It’s been a tough year but my game has never been far away,” she added. “It’s always been close but it’s trying to find that little switch I needed to turn on to start scoring during tournament rounds.
“I’ve been playing good golf. I didn’t do a lot of practice last week and I came here feeling quite confident.”
On a sombre day - play was suspended and the competitors gathered around the 15th green for a minute’s silence at midday in honour of Celia Barquín Arozamena, the Spanish golfer, who was murdered in Iowa on Monday - Hebrin spreadeagled the field with her opening salvo.
Helped by two eagles and five birdies, Herbin holds a two-stroke advantage over the big-hitting Dutch player, Anne Van Dam.
Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew was next best among the Scots with a three-under-par 68 to sit joint-15th.
On the Challenge Tour, Ewen Ferguson finished his opening round with a flourish to sit close to the lead in the Hopps Open de Provence in France.
The former British Boys’ champion carded an eagle and four birdies in his final seven holes to post a six-under-par 66 at the Seve Ballesteros-designed Golf International de Pont Royal in Mallermort.
The effort left him lying joint-second, a shot behind Dane Joachim B Hansen, a two-time winner on the second-tier circuit this season and leading the Road to Ras Al Khaimah Rankings.
Both on course to earn step ups to the main Tour, David Law and Grant Forrest carded matching 70s to sit in a share of 27th spot.
In the latest stage-one events for the European Tour Qualifying School, hopes of a Scot progressing look to be slim.
Ross Cameron is tied 55th on two-under after rounds of 74-69-71 at Golf Club Schloss Ebreichsdorf in Austria while Paul Shields retired after opening two rounds at Stoke-by-Nayland, where he’d started with scores of 78-79.
On the EuroPro Tour, amateur Calum Fyfe and former Open Silver Medal winner Lloyd Saltman both started well in the weather-hit Newmachar Golf Club Challenge.
As the first round resumed following play having to be abandoned for the day to Storm Ali, Fyfe opened with a five-under 67, one less than Saltman.
As Englishman Billy Spooner set the pace with a 65 in an event that has been reduced to 36 holes, Jamie McLeary matched Saltman’s effort.
In the amateur ranks, Scotland claimed a dramatic victory in the Senior Men’s Home Internationals at Sotherness.
The Scots had lost to Ireland on the opening day on Tuesday but bounced back with wins over both England (5-2) and Wales (6.5-0.5).
Scotland, England and Ireland all finished on two points but the hosts claimed the title by virtue of having won the most match points.
Also in the amateur ranks, Ireland’s Laura Webb overcame a strong international field at Crail to win the Women’s Senior Open Championship for a second time.
The winner at Caldy in the North-West of England two years ago, Webb led by three shots after an opening round 67, a course record.
After a day’s delay due to Storm Ali, she coasted to an impressive nine shot victory over Catherine Rawthore with a final-round 73 over the Craighead course.
“I am really delighted to win again and will be back to defend at Royal St David’s,” said Webb.
Elaine Moffat (St Regulus) finished as top Scot in joint-19th after rounds of 74-83.
On the junior front, Canadian Christopher Vandette came storming through the field on the last day to win The Duke of York Young Chmpions Trophy at Castle Stuart.
He shot a 71 - the only sub-par round of the day - for a 226 total to pip Ireland’s Jospeth Byrne.
Dunbar’s Connor Wilson, the Scottish Boys’ champion, finished joint-third on 228 after a closing 79.