Norway’s Marita Engzelius climbed to the top of the leader board with an opening 67, five under par, to lead by one shot from Spain’s Noemi Jimenez at the Terre Blanche Ladies Open in France.
A couple of wayward drives cost Engzelius two bogeys, on the 7th and 17th holes, but the Norwegian mixed those mistakes with seven birdies, providing the 30-year-old with a slim lead going into the second day.
“I did make a few good putts, not super long but they were definitely like four to five metres so some good chances, but you don’t expect to make them at all, so it was fun to make some of them.”
Engzelius played in three events earlier this year on the Ladies European Tour, finishing in a tie for second in the Women’s NSW Open, a co-sanctioned event with the ALPG, held at Coffs Harbour in Australia. She enjoyed being up at the top of the leaderboard and plans to try to replicate that feeling over the next two days.
“When I was in the position in Australia, it was so much fun, and I enjoyed the whole situation so that’s what I want to do tomorrow as well and you never know if you are going to do it or not but if I can enjoy it as much as I did in Australia that will be a goal accomplished and see what the score ends up being.”
A strong performance at Lalla Aicha Tour School ensured her status on the Ladies European Tour for this season and a needed change from playing in the States for the last few years. Engzelius has moved back home to Norway and is enjoying being back in Europe.
“I’m planning on playing mainly LET, and then I’ll fill up the schedule with LET Access and Symetra events. I needed a change, I felt like I was stuck in something that I needed to get out of and going back home, Norway is my home so moving back home, it felt like the right thing to do at the time so when I qualified it was good timing.”
Jimenez is lying just one shot back at four under par. The Spaniard feels that her recent work on the mental side of the game has helped her.
“I added a new person to my team, Michael Campbell, and he’s working with me. He has been a tour player, he’s won a major so it’s really key for me to know in those moments to be in the present. I know my game is there and I’m focusing more maybe in the gym and also on the mental side because it’s really important at this level.”
Sweden’s Emma Nilsson is a further shot back after a three under par, 69 and six players are tied for fourth place at one under.