|Third year LET Member Yu Yang Zhang from Guangzhou
China’s Yu Yang Zhang shot a career low round of eight-under-par 64 at Golfclub Wörthsee on Thursday to take the early first round lead at the Ladies German Open presented by Marriott.
In scorching conditions, the 22-year-old from Guangzhou fired eight birdies to end the morning one stroke clear of Frenchwoman Anne-Lise Caudal, the tournament winner at Gut Hausern in 2012.
“Today my putting was really good and I think everything was in good shape,” Zhang said. “I hit 16 greens and even the two when I wasn’t on the green, I chipped in and putted in, so that’s really good and I’m so lucky today.”
Zhang began her round by making a birdie putt of 12 feet on the par-5 first hole. She then made a putt of three feet for birdie on the par-3 fourth. On the seventh, from 113 yards, she played a beautiful shot to three feet using a 9-iron. She then picked up her fourth birdie on the par-4 eighth hole, making a 15 foot putt from the edge of the green.
She chipped in for birdie from 12 yards short of the green on the 10th before making a putt of 30 feet for birdie on the 13th. Coming in, she made birdie putts of 12 and 15 feet at the 14th an 17th respectively.
Since recording her career best finish of second at the Sanya Ladies Open in Hainan last November, Yang has split her time between Europe and Japan and the third year Ladies European Tour player is now in the hunt for her first victory.
Former winner Caudal is hoping to return to the form which saw her garner two LET titles, in 2012 and 2008. The 29-year-old from Ciboure near St Jean de Luz posted five birdies on the front nine and picked up three more strokes on the back nine against a solitary bogey on 17.
Caudal said: “I’m very pleased with my round. I just made one mistake on 17 but other than that I feel quite confident because I think I did well mentally. I love being back in Germany where I have great memories from my win. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in this position and we still have three days to go but I feel quite strong in my head. It’s a short course and the front nine is quite open so easier than the back nine but you still have to make the right decisions.”
Australian Rebecca Artis was in the mix on 66 as temperatures soared to 26C by mid-afternoon. The winner of the 2013 Helsingborg Open in Sweden, has split her time between Europe and the US Symetra Tour so far this season, where she has recorded two top 10s from nine events played. Her opening 66 included seven birdies and one dropped shot and she commented: “It was pretty steady golf: fairways and greens and I knocked it in close, so the ball striking was pretty solid today. I gave myself a lot of opportunities and I took most of them, so it was really good.
“The par fives are definitely birdie opportunities and the greens are fairly soft so you can just fire at pins all day, its good. I’ve been playing a fair bit in America this season on the Symetra Tour so I’ve been playing a lot of golf. My golf’s pretty good and I’ve had a lot of competitive rounds but it’s always nice to be back in Europe because I enjoy it out here. I love coming back to Germany because the crowds are always really good and the golf course is good. It’s just got a really good feel about it.”