Gemma Dryburgh opened with a four-under-par 68 to take a one-stroke lead at the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco.
The 23-year-old from Aberdeen had five birdies and one bogey on the Blue Course at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam and said that she would go to bed happy knowing that she was ahead of Suzann Pettersen, Nicole Garcia, Klára Spilková and Lydia Hall.
“It’s a very good feeling,” said the second-year LET player. “I’ll be up early tomorrow and get the ball rolling. I just have to do the same thing: play my game, stick to the game plan and one shot at a time. It’s obviously very early in the tournament so I’ll keep patient.”
Dryburgh, who was in the US recently playing on the LPGA’s feeder circuit, the Symetra Tour, picked up birdies on the second, ninth, 11th, 12th and 14th holes, with just a single mistake on the par-4 13th.
She added: “I played really well and my putting was especially good. I only had 20 putts and I didn’t hit that many greens. I had a couple of up and downs. The greens are immaculate, they are rolling really well and if you hit it on the right line, they will go in.”
Pamela Pretswell, Vikki Laing and Kelsey Macdonald all opened with 74s while Carly Booth and Michele Thomson both signed for a 75. Heather MacRae (76), Kylie Henry (78) and Sally Watson (81) are all sitting below the projected cut.
Pettersen had a mixed round with seven birdies and four bogeys. After an errant tee shot on the 17th, her ball bounced off a cork tree back into the fairway and she recovered with a par. She then finished with a birdie on the 18th to tie for the clubhouse lead on three-under-par, after a long, straight 280-yard drive.
“Today was a little bit of everything and I’m very glad I managed to put three-under together,” said the Norwegian. “I really wasted some shots out there from poor positions in the fairway, so it was a little bit up and down, but I’m happy with the way I scrambled and I managed to put a three-under together.”
The leading score of four-under-par was one stroke better than the top score held by five male players, Lucas Bjerregaard, Gregory Havret, Gary Stal, James Morrison and Edoardo Molinari, in the Trophée Hassan II being played on the neighbouring Red course.
l Paula Creamer of the United States and South Korea’s Mi Hyang Lee lead the LPGA Lotte Championship after a rain-affected first round in Hawaii.
The pair returned six-under-par scores of 66 at the Ko Olina Golf Club where a rare downpour caused a 45-minute delay.
Both had seven birdies and a bogey, with Lee’s coming on the final hole, in the dark.
“I couldn’t see the line or anything,” she said. “It was too hard.”
Play was suspended with six golfers still on the course.
Lee, 24, made the cut just once in three previous starts at Ko Olina. She is ranked 51st in the world, with a win in 2014 after earning Rookie of the Year honours on the 2012 Symetra Tour.
Two of Creamer’s ten victories have come in Hawaii and she would surpass $12 million in career earnings with a win Saturday.