|Christel Boeljon of the Netherlands tees off in round one
Eagle for Dutch amateur Anne Van Dam
Anne Van Dam, 18, from Arnhem, had by far the largest supporting gallery on Friday morning and she gave them something to cheer when she holed her second shot for eagle from a fairway bunker on the par-4 11th hole.
From 90 metres away, she used a three quarter sand wedge to strike the ball to the green perfectly before it spun back into the hole.
“It’s very nice. I don’t play much in the Netherlands because of my busy schedule in international tournaments,” said the tall teenager. “My parents don’t get to see me play often so it’s nice for them.”
Van Dam’s caddie is another successful Dutch amateur called Tessa de Bruin, who hits the ball a similar distance.
Van Dam finished her school exams yesterday after two weeks of studies and so now she can ‘relax and enjoy it’ but she still has another year to go.
Sophie Gustafson back in the mix
Four-time order of merit winner Sophie Gustafson has missed the first five cuts on the LET this season but her confidence was returning on Friday as she fired a one-under 72 on The International course. With four birdies in her first 10 holes, she was four under-par but dropped three shots in two holes on the back nine. Sophie’s long-hitting and solid ball striking is clearly an advantage on the 6371-yard par 73 course.
She said: "It was solid. I haven’t really had much solid lately. I’ve still been hitting good shots but I haven’t been able to string them together. On 15 and 16 I got a little bit unlucky. My third shot into 15 ended up plugged in the greenside bunker. The whole ball was under the surface of the sand.
My tee shot on 17 just went a little bit right and hit the middle of a little tiny tree and bounced down into the water hazard.
I’ve been getting it. My swing is actually better than it has been in years. It’s just I have to start trusting it. I’ve just been working on what I’ve been doing. It’s now becoming better and better.
It’s one of those things, when your game starts to go south, it’s very easy to lose confidence and it takes a long, long time trying to build it back up. That’s the main reason I decided to come back to Europe."
Becky Brewerton Feeling Positive
There was a Solheim Cup theme to the morning match with former team members Sophie Gustafson, Becky Brewerton and European Captain Carin Koch playing together. Like Gustafson, Brewerton has been struggling recently, making one cut from six starts so far this season, but she gave a strong performance for the 2015 captain by firing an opening one-under-par 72.
She said: "I feel really positive and it’s the first time I can say that for a long time. I enjoyed the round. I didn’t feel good when woke up but by the time I left the range I’d managed to calm myself down a bit and quite enjoyed it, which I haven’t done for quite some time.
"If you’re a long hitter and you can hit the fairway you’ve got a big advantage, because I was playing with Sophie Gustafson today and she was bombing a few drives and it gave her such a huge advantage. That’s a key for me. If I can just hit the fairway I’m okay because everything else is pretty solid. I hit the ball well today so I was very pleased.
"When you look at the fairway it’s very wide but the way they’ve contoured the fairways, if you get outside the first cut of rough, it’s really quite thick and you’d be lucky to find the ball. If that was trees instead of rough you’d think it was tight.
"It was good to see Sophie play well. Lack of confidence has made us both suffer for quite a long time but it was also good to play with Carin."