Annika Sorenstam

Stupples’ round included four birdies, two bogeys and a tap-in eagle at the 14th hole, where she hit her three wood to six inches.

Stupples, playing in her third event of the year in Europe, said: “Everybody was playing well so it was nice to be able to feed off each other. It’s a fun course to play because the birdies are out there and you have some interesting putts at times. My eagle was nearly another albatross.”

Stupples finished in a tie for tenth place in last week’s Women’s British Open after a disappointing final round of 78 but admitted that the week’s performance had given her a boost.

“The last round was something that happens when you try too hard,” she said. “It doesn’t always go your way.

“I feel like I’m starting to get a bit of confidence now. I’m driving the ball so well you know I’ve just got to knuckle down with the iron shots. I had a three-putt on eight and a three-putt at the first. If you take those out of the equation then you’re on six. I’m getting enough birdies and hitting enough quality shots. I’ve just got to knuckle down.”

French player Nocera recovered well after a double bogey at the par-three third hole. She said: “I had a bad start and I wasn’t making any putts. It finally broke with birdies on 14 and 17 and then I put it close on 18 so I’m really pleased about that.”

Finland’s Riikka Hakkarainen, England’s Laura Davies, Swedes Liselotte Neumann, Karin Sjodin and amateur Anna Nordqvist and Germany’s Bettina Hauert all carded 70s and sit on three-under-par.

Meanwhile Alison Munt from Australia holed in one at the third hole in the first round but she missed out on the 10,000 Swedish Kroner on offer courtesy of Deloitte for aces at holes 13 and 16.