Holland’s Anne Van Dam, Korea’s Mi Hyang Lee and America’s Jane Park made the most of the sunny morning conditions at The Renaissance Club, firing rounds of 63 (-8) to top the round one leaderboard at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open.
Van Dam, who entered the week in one of the automatic qualification positions for the upcoming Solheim Cup, laid down a statement of intent in front of her ‘idol’, Team Europe Vice-Captain Suzann Pettersen.
Playing with Pettersen for the first time in her career starting from the 10th, the 23-year-old made an eagle on the par 5 12th, hitting a driver and a six iron to within three feet before making three further birdies and two bogeys to make the turn in 33. She started the back nine as she meant to go on by making her second eagle of the day at the par 5 1st hole, this time with a flagged 5 iron to 4ft before recording four further gains to sign for a 63 (-8).
“Today was a perfect day weather-wise. No wind. A little bit of sun. Good to take care of things.”
“I always like to play with good groups. Actually Suzann was probably one of my idols growing up, so first time playing with her, it was nice.”
26-year-old Mi Hyang Lee, who captured the trophy in 2017 at Dundonald Golf Club, has fond memories of Scotland and completed her round without dropping a stroke – recording six birdies and an eagle.
“Because I actually live in the island in Korea, it is always so windy over there, so I always like to practice the lower shots. I really love to play the Scottish and I think where I live in Korea gives me a lot of help as it is always windy there.”
American Jane Park, who narrowly missed out in a five-hole playoff last week to make the field at the AIG Women’s British Open, completed the trio at the top, signing for a 63 of her own – which included a run of four birdies in a run from the 4th hole.
“I just had no expectations. I was just thinking, let’s scrape it around today and thankfully I shot a good number.”
In total 46 players finished under par in the morning, compared to 24 in the afternoon but leading the afternoon starters, also looking to solidify her place in the Solheim Cup European Team, is Caroline Hedwall. The big-hitting Swede fired a round of 65 (-6).
Defending champion Ariya Jutanugarn sits in T18 after a first round 68 (-3) whilst Pamela Pretswell Asher leads the Scottish charge after a round of 69 (-2).
Don’t forget… Off the course, and new for 2019 is Ladies Day, which will take place on Saturday 10th August. No golfing experience is required and welcome drinks will be served to all attendees on arrival as well as the opportunity for all attendees to not only watch the golf but also take part in a golf clinic with European Tour coach Gary Nicol and enjoy live music from former Westlife star Brian McFadden and upcoming Scottish artist Hugh Kelly.
In addition to Ladies Day, Solheim Cup Sunday is also new to the 2019 tournament where fans are encouraged to get behind the tournament by wearing Team Europe or Team USA colours to pledge their support of their favourite team in the biennial contest.
The best-dressed fan will receive a special Solheim Cup pin flag signed by all the European Team and there will be on the spot prizes for those that have made the effort.
Tickets for the 2019 Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open are FREE.