Christel Boeljon, Diana Luna, Pernilla Lindberg, Florentyna Parker and Charlotte Ellis all shot three under par 70s to share the lead after round one of the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open in Belek, Antalya.
The defending champion Boeljon, from the Netherlands, continued her love affair with the National Golf Club after mixing six birdies with three bogeys.
“It was a little rough around the edges I think but for a first round it’s good and I’m pleased with it,” said Boeljon, who won the Gold Coast RACV Australian Ladies Masters in February.
“The course is fairly tight and I’m a pretty straight player off the tee so I get the ball in a good position and then it’s just getting on the green and making a few putts. I think off the tee, it’s one of the strongest parts of my game, but today, it was so-so, could have been better, but I made plenty of birdies and a few bogeys but it’s a good score.”
Playing under sunny skies, Boeljon started at the 10th and opened with four pars and two successive birdies, but a bogey on the par-four 17th checked her progress. She bogeyed the par-three second after pulling her tee shot, but then carded four birdies against one bogey over the next four holes.
Parker, the 2010 Dutch Ladies Open champion, also showed great resolve, coming back from a double bogey on her opening hole to share the lead.
The Royal Birkdale member found the pine trees on the par-four 10th hole, but birdied the 16th, first, third, sixth and ninth.
“I’d have taken level par after my first hole so I’ll take that,” said Parker, who tied for second in Scotland last week.
“I started with a double bogey so that was a bit slow and then one birdie on the back nine, which was my front nine. I got it going on the front nine with four birdies and played really well.”
Luna, Lindberg and Ellis each had four birdies against one bogey. Italian Luna started well with birdies on the first and fourth holes and her momentum only stalled momentarily with a three-putt on the 10th hole before she birdied the 13th and 18th.
“I played very well and hit many shots around the pin, but not many putts dropped,” said Luna. “I was always around the pin with my approach shots. I hit 15 greens and one fairway I was putting from outside, so like 16. It was very good.”
Sweden’s Lindberg, who is leading the Ladies European Tour’s Solheim Cup standings after six top-10 finishes since late September, started on the back nine and set out with three birdies and one bogey before picking up a further shot at the par-five fourth hole.
“This is a tough golf course and it’s very tight. I kept the ball in play all day. We know everyone is going to be in the trees at some point this week. I only made one bogey out there so it was a good day,” Lindberg said.
England’s Charlotte Ellis, who played in a tricky afternoon breeze under more threatening skies, was the only player of the later starters to make an impact.
Despite playing in only her second Ladies European Tour event, having attended qualifying school in January, she reeled off four birdies on the back nine and showed maturity by scrambling an excellent par on the 18th, a par four that plays to the green over water.
“I struggle with really sweaty hands and so much so I actually used a rain glove the whole way round,” said the 26-year-old from Cheltenham. “I just slipped and hit the trees that were either side of the tee there. I’ve left myself such a long way in, I thought to myself it was probably going to be a bogey so I just laid up and got on the green as close as I can but ended up fancying the putt and holed it from 12 feet for a par.”
Lucie Andre, Stacey Keating, Caroline Masson and Swiss rookie Anais Maggetti finished on two under with a further seven players on one under par.
Last week’s Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open winner Carly Booth, English amateur star Charley Hull, Solheim Cup player Laura Davies and former European Money List winner Lee-Anne Pace of South Africa were among the 14 players just three shots behind the leaders on level par.