|Camilla Lennarth all smiles after chipping in for eagle on the eighth hole
Camilla Lennarth of Sweden fired a career best round of seven-under-66 to take a three stroke lead after the opening day of the Deloitte Ladies Open in the Netherlands.
The tall, blonde Ladies European Tour rookie professional fired five birdies and an eagle around The International, a challenging new course next to Schipol Airport in Amsterdam.
After a bitterly cold start to the day, she took advantage of the warmer afternoon conditions, posting four birdies on the back nine before picking up three further shots on her last two holes.
She chipped in from 30 metres with her third shot on the par-5 eighth hole before adding a final-hole birdie on the ninth.
“Before I teed off I saw the leaders at three-under and I was a little surprised,” said Lennarth. “I just aimed for a par on every hole and things went my way. I made some putts and that gave me some momentum.
The 24-year-old from Stockholm added that the round was the perfect fillip following a lack-lustre start to the season, despite the fact she tied for second after shooting an opening-round 70 in the weather-shortened South African Women’s Open, last month.
“I was hoping for a better start this year, I played well at Q-School but I’ve been struggling so it’s nice that even though I didn’t strike the ball as well as I can, I got a great score out there. This is the best score I’ve ever posted in a tournament.”
Second placed Gwladys Nocera, the LET No.1 player in 2008, was also filled with confidence following her opening -round of four-under-69, containing six birdies and two bogeys.
“I hit the ball pretty well. I was most of the time close to the pin, the right side of the green, so lots of birdie opportunities. Everything was good and the course was hard, so nothing to complain about,” said Nocera, who won the Dutch event in 2007 and 2008 in Eindhoven.
“I’ve come from playing badly and losing so much confidence and now being able to play well again feels good so I don’t want to think about it. I just want to play golf, because that’s what I love.”
Of the six players in a group at three-under-par, only Melissa Reid and Line Vedel started early, in temperatures hovering around 7C for most of the morning.
Reid, the 2010 event winner at Broekpolder, said: “It was so cold this morning that you couldn’t warm up and you were shivering putting your ball on the tee so the mental side was to get over that. When you’re freezing you have to keep your body warm and your hands warm and that’s the biggest challenge.”
Miriam Nagl, Bree Arthur, Titiya Plucksataporn and home hope Christel Boeljon from the Netherlands all played in the afternoon and ended in a share of third at three-under-par.
The defending champion, Carlota Ciganda, was part of a large group a shot further back at two-under-par and will be five shots off the lead going into the weekend.