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Golf - 09. July 2013.

European championship opens with spectacular play

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England are lying fourth after first round of the European Ladies’ Team Championship, which opened today with spectacular golf at Fulford, York.

Brilliant sunshine, a superb course and Europe’s top women amateurs combined to produce a host of low scores which delighted the crowds of spectators

The overall lead is held by Denmark, whose young team produced scores including a six-under 66, 68 and 69 to give them an 11-under par total for the day. “It was really fun to start out in that way,” said team captain Lene Kring Lorentzen. Second-placed Spain had two players with rounds in the 60s, while the Netherlands, in third place, had two players with sub-par scores.

The day’s low scorers included England’s Bronte Law (Image © Leaderboard Photography) who shot three-under par 69 – as she enjoyed her return to competitive stroke play after taking her A level exams. Her aim was a steady start and she achieved that comfortably with a level par score on the front nine, before she hit top gear to come home in three-under.

It could have been even better, but for a double-bogey on 16 which included a pushed drive and a penalty drop. “That was a bit annoying because I was pretty much blemish free, but I kept my head and made par on 17 and finished with a birdie on 18,” said Bronte, from Bramhall.

“Overall, I’m pleased. I haven’t played stroke play for a while so it was really important for me to play well today. But it’s not about individuals this week, it’s about getting the best score for the team.”

Her round contributed to a team total of four-over for the first round. The five best scores from six counted and included level par from Meghan MacLaren (Wellingborough) and Hayley Davis (Ferndown). British champion Georgia Hall (Remedy Oak) shot 75 after a triple-bogey eight on the last, while Lauren Taylor (Woburn) and Sarah-Jane Boyd (Truro) both returned 76.

Meghan – making her debut at this level – got below par after 12 holes, but dropped a shot on the 15th. “I’m pleased overall, although it would have been nice to get under par and I missed a couple of chances,” she said. “But I kept it together, had a couple of good par saves and hopefully this will help us into a reasonable position.”

Hayley finished strongly with two birdies in the last three holes to secure her score after an up and down round, which included just seven pars. “I didn’t get off to a quick start but I birdied 10, after I hit it to 3ft. That was my first really good shot and after that I played really solid,” she remarked.

Tomorrow’s second qualifying round will determine the teams’ final positions for the match play, which starts on Thursday. The top eight will go in to the championship flight and contest the medals while the others will play for place.

England captain Emma Brown is looking forward to building on today’s scores. “We’ve had some tidy scores – and some which could have been better. We’ve made a lot of birdies but we’ve also made some silly mistakes on holes which we know how to play better. So we’ll be looking at those decisions and how to eradicate the double bogeys as part of the preparation for tomorrow,” she said.

Tomorrow’s England tee-times are:
9.10am Meghan MacLaren
9.40am Sarah-Jane Boyd
10.10am Hayley Davis
12.40pm Lauren Taylor
1.10pm Bronte Law
1.40pm Georgia Hall.

Leading placings after round one:
-11 Denmark
-6 Spain
+3 Netherlands
+4 England
+5 Sweden
+7 Finland
+11 France, Ireland
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