Kylie Walker one off lead in Qatar Ladies Open

Kylie Walker kicked up a desert storm with a strong finish to sit just one shot off the lead after the opening round in the inaugural Qatar Ladies Open.

Kylie Walker birdied the last three holes at Doha Golf Club for a four-under 68. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Kylie Walker birdied the last three holes at Doha Golf Club for a four-under 68. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

The 30-year-old signed off with three straight birdies for a four-under-par 68 at Doha Golf Club, where Lydia Hall from Wales and Noora Tamminen of Finland set the pace with matching flawless efforts.

Walker, a two-time LET winner, was one-over at the turn before starting for home with back-to-back birdies then transformed her day with that late burst.

“To finish like that always feels nice,” said the Mar Hall-attached player, who is heading out to Florida straight after this event for the final of the LPGA Qualifying School.

“At the driveable par-4 16th, which was into the wind today, I just got it on to front edge and two-putted. I then hit it close at the 17th, holing seven or eight footer.

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“The wind was slightly hurting at the last and I didn’t hit a particularly good wedge in with my third shot but managed to hole a good putt from 15 feet for a birdie.”

Walker, whose boyfriend Scott Henry won his European Tour card in Spain last week, is enjoying the LET’s new end-of-season series of events in the UAE.

“We’ve got two great tournaments to finish, having already had a good one in Abu Dhabi,” she added. “This is the first time this event has been staged and it’s been awesome.

“They’ve put on a great show for us and are really looking after us. It’s great to be finishing the season in the UAE.”

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It was a mixed day for the six other Scots in the field. Pamela Pretswell opened with a 72 whille Carly Booth and Laura Murray both signed for 73s.

But Vikki Laing is outside the projected cut after a 76 and so, too, are Kelsey Macdonald (78) Iona Stephen (79).