The defending champion Line Vedel, helped by eight birdies, moved in to a tie for the lead with Australian rookie Nikki Campbell late in the first round of the Allianz Ladies Slovak Open presented by Respect on Thursday.
Both players fired five-under-par 67s over the Gray Bear course on a hot and humid day at Golf Resort Talé in the Low Tatras mountains near Brezno.
|Nikki and her boyfriend Damon Welsford
Vedel, who claimed her one and only Ladies European Tour title at the venue 12 months previously, reeled off five birdies and a double bogey on the back nine before adding three further birdies and a bogey on the front nine.
The 24-year-old from Tinglev joined Campbell, who had six birdies against a bogey earlier in the morning.
“I like this course a lot, I like the fact that you have to think your way around and be patient. I hit 17 greens and had some opportunities,” Vedel said. “My putting is good and out here you’ve really got to trust the lines, because they are so slopey, so I like that and just trust them and some will go in.”
Campbell, who spent 10 years plying her trade on the LPGA of Japan, with two wins and 30 top 10 finishes to her credit, also said that trusting the line of the putts on the undulating greens was important.
The highlights of her round included “a really long putt on 17 that curled about four metres,” and a sensational up and down on the difficult sixth green.
“On six I hit a seven-iron in and I didn’t quite catch it, it caught the front edge,” Campbell explained. “The green is quite treacherous from the front to the back so I had to hit a chip shot barely about three metres and it rolled all the way down the hill to a metre and a half.
“I hit it and didn’t think it was going to get there but just trickled over and went down to just over a metre and I made par so that was a highlight.”
Florentyna Parker, celebrating her 24th birthday, was tied with fellow Englishwoman Trish Johnson at three-under-par.
Among a group of eight knotted at two-under were Solheim Cup prospects Gwladys Nocera and Laura Davies, who eagled the par-5 fourth.
England’s Henni Zuel threatened the leaders with four birdies on the back nine, but immediately ran up four bogeys on the front nine to slip down the leader board to level par.
She ended the day in a group of eight players on 72, along with Zuzana Kamasova, the LET’s first winner from Eastern Europe, who is playing on her home course.
Italian Veronica Zorzi enjoyed her first hole-in-one at the 170-yard, or 155-metres, seventh hole using a 7-iron and opened the tournament with a one over 73.
She is part of a large group in a share of 32nd alongside 17-year-old English rookie Charley Hull, battling to win her first title after five straight runner-up finishes so far this year.
|Line Vedel of Denmark plays a shot to the ninth green