(Evian, France – Thursday 23rd July 2009) — Wales’ Becky Brewerton shared the first round lead with South Koreans In Kyung Kim and Na Yeon Choi at the weather-interrupted Evian Masters in France.
Last week’s Open de Espana Femenino champion, Brewerton set the target at five-under 67 Thursday with a round that contained seven birdies and two bogeys.
She made three straight birdies from the fifth and picked up another shot at the par-five ninth to make the turn in 32, four-under, before moving to five-under with another birdie at the par-four 10th hole. Dropped shots at the 13th and 14th holes were countered by birdies at the 16th and 17th.
The 26-year-old Welshwoman was joined by Kim and Choi before play was suspended at 4.43pm for an hour and 15 minutes due to thunderstorms. American Wendy Ward had a chance to catch the trio but finished a stroke back at four-under alongside England’s Karen Stupples, Frenchwoman Karine Icher and Ji Young Oh of the United States.
Brewerton earned her spot in the field on Sunday when she claimed her second Ladies European Tour victory in Spain, having led the tournament from start to finish.
She is in a rich vein of form and aiming for a top 20 position this week, in order to earn Solheim Cup points and the chance of a second appearance on the European team. The Solheim Cup takes place at Rich Harvest Farms in Illinois from August 21-23 and both the US and European teams will be revealed at the Ricoh Women’s British Open a week on Sunday.
“I’m very pleased to play very well and just continue my good form from last week. Again, my short game was excellent,” said Brewerton, 26, from Abergele.
“It’s amazing to think that without that last week I wouldn’t even be here. Feeling sort of quite fortunate at the moment, and just thought, well, take advantage of the opportunity. Hopefully it’s meant to be.”
Brewerton’s confidence has soared and she has the experience of playing in four previous Evian Masters, with her best finish a tie for 24th last year.
“You know, things have changed so much over the last few months. I’ve started working with a coach, Stewart Craig, for about the last eight or nine months. When I originally started to go and see him, I thought he could make my short game better, but I didn’t think he would be able to make my long game that much better because I always thought it was quite good,” she said.
“I’m hitting it great and my short game is really coming together. We’ve worked really hard this week. We spent quite a lot of time yesterday playing lots of different shots as well.
“I went to see a sports psychologist before Spain. Because I’ve been playing consistently well, and I was a little bit frustrated in the few weeks leading up I hadn’t managed to get a win. Just thought there might be something there. We had a chat, and amazingly the next week I’ve gone out and won and I shot a great score today.
“I finally feel like for the first time ever, maybe every single aspect of my game and mentality is sort of coming together. I feel incredibly calm on the course at the moment. I’m pretty laid back anyway, but even calmer than usual. Hopefully if I can perform well in these two weeks and get more points and qualify for the team, I’ll just be really looking forward to it.”
Co-leader Kim is a two-time champion on the US LPGA Tour where she has been playing for three seasons, having most recently won the 2009 LPGA State Farm Classic.
Second year LPGA tour pro Choi is yet to win, but finished as a runner-up to Helen Alfredsson at last year’s Evian Masters, when she lost a three-hole, sudden death play-off.
Fellow South Koreans Meena Lee and Seon Hwa Lee were a shot back on 69, along with Japanese stars Ai Miyazato and Momoko Ueda and the 2006 champion, Australian Karrie Webb.
American teenager Michelle Wie, twice a runner-up at the event, carded a one-over 73 and shared 53rd position, while No.1 Lorena Ochoa of Mexico carded a three-over 75 and tied for 75th place.