Nikki Garrett

“It was a great start. You couldn’t ask for anything better than what we did today. I left it all up to Nikki. I was just the support staff really. I contributed one birdie but Nikki played absolutely fantastic,” said Mills.

Garrett added: “Jo played well and when I needed her, she was there, pretty much. I sunk a lot of putts and I think we did combine pretty well as a team.”

For Garrett, this tournament could prove the start of a comeback season after she struggled last year. She won the 2007 Tenerife and Spanish Opens in her second year on tour but finished 38th on the 2008 New Star Money List.

She described her swing as “disgusting” at the end of last season. “When I got home at the end of the year my coach said “I think you swung it better as a nine year old”,” she said, adding that she was now feeling more comfortable and relaxed.

The American team of Beth Daniel and Meg Mallon got off to a steady start with five regulation pars but picked up the pace when Daniel birdied No.6, followed by further birdies on 10 and 11.
Mallon then chipped in for birdie on 14 and 15, but missed chances on 16 and 17.

“We didn’t know what to expect,” Mallon explained. “Beth hasn’t competed at this level in a couple of years and I haven’t competed since last July so I think when we look back at it we’re both going to be really pleased.”

Team USA

Scores after the first round of the Comunitat Valenciana European Nations Golf Cup at the 6253-yard/5717 metre, par-72, La Sella Golf Resort.

65 – Australia (Nikki Garrett and Joanne Mills)
66 – The Netherlands (Christel Boeljon and Marjet van der Graaff), USA (Beth Daniel and Meg Mallon)
67 – France (Gwladys Nocera and Anne-Lise Caudal), England (Laura Davies and Lisa Hall)
68 – Denmark (Iben Tinning and Lisa Holm Sorensen)
69 – Scotland (Lynn Kenny and Clare Queen), Italy (Veronica Zorzi and Giulia Sergas)
70 – Austria (Eva Steinberger and Nicole Gergely), Norway (Marianne Skarpnord and Lill Kristin Saether), Wales (Becky Brewerton and Lydia Hall), Germany (Martina Eberl and Denise Charlotte Becker)
71 – Switzerland (Florence Luscher and Frederique Seeholzer), Sweden (Lotta Wahlin and Carin Koch)
72 – Slovakia (Zuzana Kamasova and Veronika Falathova (Am), Ireland (Rebecca Coakley and Martina Gillen), Russia (Maria Verchenova and Anastasia Kostina)
73 – Belgium (Ellen Smets and Lara Tadiotto), Spain (Paula Marti and Tania Elosegui)
75 – Finland (Ursula Wikstrom and Kaisa Ruuttila)