(Evian-les-Bains, France – July 20 2005) Lynnette Brooky from New Zealand, Carin Koch from Sweden and Marissa Baena from Columbia are tied for the lead after the first round this week’s $2.5million Evian Masters.

Carin Koch

“I flushed a 5-wood and it actually looked like it was going in the hole. I said to Gerald on the practice round that if we get that gold bar I will give you a chance to bite into it and if you get a bite off you can have it. He was thinking of his teeth and I was thinking of his teeth on the flight because in the air it looked like it was going in. It was only a yard and half short.”

Koch, from Kungalv, had an error-free 66 with no putt longer than 20 feet on the card.

Hers was the near perfect finish, with birdies on both holes 17 and 18: “I have not done that too many times here. I have always had trouble with the last few holes, co it is nice to have that strong finish,” said the three-time Solheim Cup star.

Following a mini tornado on Monday, she admitted that the course was playing tougher than usual: “The rough here is quite tough and these greens you need to be in the fairway. You miss a few shots and you get in trouble.

“Also the greens are really hard to read. You hit a lot of good putts here that you think you hit good, and they are just not right. The greens are a little bit slower after the storm too, so the uphill putts you really have to hit them. I think that has always been the key here.”

Baena, the 28-year-old from Columbia, who won the HSBC Women’s World Match Play Championship on the LPGA circuit two weeks ago, had another faultless round with six birdies.

“It was very, very solid round. My first three birdies were about five feet, the putt, and then about six feet and about three birdies were two footers. I didn’t make any long putts. I only missed one green, which I got up and down,” she said.