Taranto, Italy; October 31 2004) Mianne Bagger from Denmark made the perfect start in her bid to become the first transsexual to play on the Robe di Kappa Ladies European Tour after a two under par 70 saw her tie for the first round lead in the LET Qualifying school at Riva dei Tessali GC in Southern Italy.

Anna Highgate

“I thought level par would be a good score today as the course is tight and tricky so I just planned on keeping my head down, make pars and get birdies wherever I could, so coming in at two under with the birdie at the last made me happy.”

Bagger, who has been playing golf on the Telia Tour in Scandinavia this summer, has endured her fair share of media attention and she openly admits that it’s natural for people to be talking about her.

“I’m coping with the media attention a lot better now, especially as I’ve played more events and that really helped. Playing professional golf this summer has helped me get used to scoring and all in all, I’ve heard nothing negative at all this week as many of the players now know me, or at least know of me.”

Highgate, a tall and powerful 21-year-old with heaps of ambition from the un-vowelled town of Ynysybwl near Pontypridd, will be hoping to celebrate her 22nd birthday next week with a full exemption to the 2005 season.

Despite having a bizarre opening half of 34, which included three bogies, three birdies and an eagle, the Curtis Cupper steadied the ship with seven pars, a birdie and a bogey on her inward half to tie Bagger for the lead as dusk set in.

“It could have been a lot better to be honest, especially that front nine, but I played steadily on the back nine,” admitted Highgate, the runner up in this year’s British Amateur Championship.

“I’d love to get my Tour card first time and play a full season in Europe and get my professional career going.”

The top 50 players and those tied will make the cut after three rounds and in the final round, the top 30 players and ties will gain a full exemption to the 2005 season. All players who make the cut and finish outside the top 30 on Tuesday evening will earn conditional playing rights next year.