(Costa da Caparica, Portugal, October 31 2003) Five amateurs and two professionals took over at the top of the leaderboard after the opening round of the Ladies European Tour qualifying school at Aroeira GC near Lisbon with Germany’s Bettina Hauert leading the way.

Blomqvist and Kuosa – two of three impressive Finns

Blomqvist, the youngest competitor in the field this week at just 18-years-old arrived at Q-School with an outstanding amateur record, which included three points out of three at the PING Junior Solheim Cup last month in Sweden, a fifth place finish in the European amateur championship and a member of the European Vagliano Trophy team.

The pint sized platinum blonde Finn, who also finished 13th at the Ladies Irish Open this year plotted her way around the course with the skill of a chess grandmaster to post the early lead and was relieved to find the sanctuary of the clubhouse unscathed.

“I’m very happy with that,” admitted Blomqvist. “It was a fight all day long out there and to get in on level par is very satisfying.”

Kuosa has been a professional for 11 months playing primarily on the Telia Tour, where she finished sixth on the 2003 order of merit after posting two runners up spots.

Grinding out a score in difficult conditions is Kuosa’s speciality and after three birdies, a double bogey and a bogey, her score added up to a 72. The 26-year-old blonde admitted to having Seve Ballesteros as one of her heroes and on more than one occasion emulated shots of which El Maestro would have been proud.

The top fifty players and those tied for 50th spot will qualify for the cut after three rounds. Those players in the top 30 after Monday’s final round will gain full exemptions to the LET and the remaining players who complete four rounds will earn a conditional card for the 2004 season.