England’s Charlotte Ellis and amateur Ellie Goodall tied for the lead after the opening round of the WPGA International Challenge at Stoke by Nayland Hotel Golf & Spa, with rounds of 69, three under par in sunny, calm conditions.
Ellis played solidly over her opening nine holes with birdies on the 2nd and 8th holes. The 28-year-old from Oxford recorded a solitary bogey on the 7th hole before going on to make a magnificent eagle on the 397 yard par four 12th, holing her second shot.
She said: "My game was in a much better place today, especially after last week,” she said, referring to an argument she had with some rocks that resulted in a calamitous first round of 88."
“I felt I played quite nicely today, I am really pleased. I think my putter made the difference today. I holed some good putts and actually missed a couple of birdie chances inside six feet so it could have been better. Nevertheless, I’ll settle for three-under.”
Nineteen-year-old Goodall carded four birdies and one bogey to join Ellis at the top of the leader board.
France’s Melodie Bourdy and Daisy Nielsen from Denmark are tied for third place after their opening rounds of 70, 2 under par. The two players have different goals in mind this week. Bourdy is aiming to cement her position in the top 20 of the LETAS order of merit and earn a spot at the final stage of Lalla Aicha Tour School.
Nielsen is hoping to secure her place in the top five of the ranking to earn her LET playing rights for next season.
Five players are tied for 5th place, Ji-Hyun Suh from England, Sweden’s Anna Svenstrup, Tonje Daffinrud from Norway and Spanish players Maria Beautell and Marta Sanz-Barrio, who all opened with 71’s, one under par.
Daffinrud, currently lying in 7th place on the order of merit, requires a strong finish this week to earn one of the coveted LET cards for next year.
The 23-year-old has played extremely consistently over the summer, with two back-to-back wins at the Azores Ladies Open and the Grecotel Amirandes Ladies Open.
Beautell and Sanz Barrio will both require a win this week to have a chance of gaining their LET cards. Less than 800 points separates the two Spanish players on the LETAS order of merit.
Tomorow's round will commence at 8.00am from both the 1st and 10th tees.