Rebecca Artis and her husband/caddie Geoff during the first round

Australian Rebecca Artis fired a career-best round of eight under par 64 to take the first round lead at the Deutsche Bank Ladies Swiss Open. 

 Barbara Genuini had a career low round of 67

The 23-year-old from New South Wales charged to the top of the leader board with four birdies and an eagle in her last six holes to lead by two strokes at Golf Gerre Losone in Ascona-Locarno, southern Switzerland.  

England’s Florentyna Parker was placed second on 66, followed by the defending champion Diana Luna of Italy and Frenchwoman Barbara Genuini on five under 67.

“I’ve shot seven under before, but not eight. It was very exciting really,” said Artis, smiling.

Artis has not yet won in her three seasons on the Ladies European Tour and is 37th on the ISPS Handa order of merit, the official Ladies European Tour ranking. She has three top-20 finishes in nine starts on tour this year, with a season best-tie for 14th at the Lalla Meryem Cup and last week in Slovakia.

On a wet course after heavy rain earlier in the week, Artis recorded a two under front-nine total of 34 featuring four birdies and two bogeys.

She then birdied the 13th before holing out for eagle on 15 and ending with three straight birdies. 

“I was hitting the ball well so I was just trying to fly it at the pins really. The greens are soft so we can really fly it at the pin. I had a good lay-up number going up the 15th so I actually holed that for eagle there and then I had a good couple of numbers coming in. I wasn’t in between clubs or anything so I could just pull clubs out and fire it at the pin so it was really good,” said Artis, who married her caddie, Geoff in February.

On her eagle at the par-five 15th, she said: “I hit driver, four-iron. Geoff and I were having a little competition to see how close we could get to the number. When I hit it I said I reckon I’ll have 102 to the pin and he said, 101. We got down there and I think I had 100 to the pin and I said to Geoff, if I just hit a full wedge and fly it a little bit past it and spin it back, and that’s what I did, put it two metres past and spun it back in.”

Florentyna Parker plays her approach to the 18th 

Parker was one of the only afternoon competitors to make an impact on the leader board. She fired a flawless opening round containing six birdies under sunny skies with a breeze.

“This morning I said to myself I wanted to shoot seven under. I shot seven under in my second round and that was my target. I started really well and five under after nine, then it went a bit slow but I birdied 16 and had two good chances coming in but missed them.

“It did get very breezy towards the end. I’ve not seen any scores but I played really solid: hit 15 greens and putted really nicely. I only had 11 putts on the front nine so that was really good,” Parker said.

Luna, who won the event by a stroke 12 months ago, was pleased with her opening round featuring six birdies and one bogey.

“It’s a very nice way to start a tournament of course, especially when you are defending champion. You want to do well and I did so. I’m very glad and I like very much the course. It was in good shape. Considering the big amount of water over the last few days I think the course is playing great,” Luna said.

Genuini was even more thrilled after posting a career low round of 67. “I started with three birdies, just sinking putts from wherever I was. After, I started making some pars. I only had about 10 putts on the back nine,” she said.

“I made three more birdies in a row from the 18th through to the second. It was just a good round. I think I’ve found love in my life, I’m emotionally better and that’s making me play better. It’s fun and enjoyable. It was such a pleasure.”

Pace, the 2010 event winner, had a four under par 68 and said: “I’m very pleased. I started off very well on the front nine. I wanted to get off to a good start which I did and I think I’m right in the mix so it’s a goal achieved for the first day.”

Local player Anaïs Maggetti opened with a level par 72 which featured just inside the projected cut line on day one.

Meanwhile, Scotland’s Carly Booth recorded her first hole-in-one in a tournament using a nine-iron at the par-three 11th.  The ball pitched a metre behind the flag and span back into the hole.