Sophie Sandolo 66 (-6)
Very well done. A round of 66 including eight birdies. What was the key to that momentum from the fourth hole?
I don’t know. I actually started very slow and I was not feeling that well but then after the fourth hole, I don’t know what happened. I just said, ‘okay Sophie, you have to play’, so that’s what I did and it went well.
What pleased you particularly about your game today?
My game was very consistent: all the parts of my game and especially my putting. I missed a few shots but always in the right place so I think the putting was really good.
The wind is picking up now. Do you think it was harder this afternoon?
Well this morning was very still. When I woke up there was no wind or air at all. I played the Pro Am in this wind and it’s a good wind, but it’s not that strong either. It’s just fine.
What do you think about this golf course?
The golf course is very tricky. It’s probably one of the most tricky I saw up to now. It’s very hilly, up and down; you really need to be careful about all the shots you are making and be in the right position in the right place every time.
Was that your strategy, just to keep in the right position?
My strategy was to play as low as possible without making too many mistakes so that’s what I’m trying to do every time.
You are 28th on the Henderson Money List at the moment. What are your goals going forward?
I don’t know, we will see. I have many goals and I don’t really want to tell them to anybody. Last year I was not playing and now I’m really enjoying myself, being back on the golf course, being back on tour, I’m having a lot of fun. Just being here for me is just fantastic.
Is that the key, just enjoying your golf now?
I think it’s getting a better equilibrium in my life. My golf is my work but I have other hobbies and activities away from golf, so I think that’s the good thing about now.
I’m very interested in photography and arts in general. Photography is the thing I’m really into right now.
Johanna Westerberg 67 (-5)
You’re the defending champion here at the Portugal Ladies Open and just shot an opening round of 67, five under par. How satisfied were you with your performance today?
It was great. I played really well all the way through. My only mistakes pretty much were two three putts but otherwise I set up a lot of good birdie opportunities and I managed to make six of them so I’m very pleased.
What particularly pleased you with the way you played?
I hit almost every fairway and I hit 16 greens so all my long shots have been really, really good: very solid. My putting has been okay, not absolutely fantastic but I holed a couple of good ones and then I put it pretty close to the pin.
Just explain how you approached this golf course at Campo Real, because it’s quite different to Golden Eagle, isn’t it?
It is. You have to have a really good game plan. I played it twice before today and we tried to set up a really good game plan and I think we have a good game plan which we only try to follow now. If you stay patient you will get a lot of birdie opportunities on this course. I hit it reasonably long so I could reach a couple of the par fives and that makes it easier as well.
You had a baby just six months ago so how are you juggling all this.
You don’t have as much time to practise but I think I’m quite focused when I practise. I only practise a little bit now but I feel every time I go out and play I just enjoy it so much and I try to really enjoy playing and I think that helps to play well as well.
You have put yourself at the top of the leader board. How do you feel about your chances this weekend?
Well if I keep playing the way I played today I think my chances are good. It’s still two days to go so a lot can happen. I feel good and I like the course. It’s a lot of fun to play and I think my chances are pretty good.
Kym Larratt 68 (-4)
Kym, what pleased you about your game today?
Just playing solid, really. I’ve been struggling a wee bit the last few weeks but thought, just go out there, don’t force it and let it happen and it did. I’m really pleased.
How do you find this golf course?
Like everyone else says, a bit different, but it’s nice, it’s good. It’s a good test of golf. Just keep your nerve about you and you’ll be alright.
Who is caddying for you this week?
My dad is on the bag still. He won the PGA Seniors Championship a couple of weeks ago. He was actually supposed to be in the Slaley Seniors event this week but he said, ‘No, I want to be on the bag,’ so he made the right decision.
How does he help you?
Years and years of experience. Obviously with him being a pro and a tournament pro, he’s done all this before so he knows what to expect and everything. He knows my game inside out and the course management side is crucial to me at the moment. My confidence levels just go way up with him on the bag.
There are times when you think, ‘should I hit a full shot?’ and he says, ‘No, just grip down and hit a little shot, don’t force anything.’ You’ll maybe cut down on a club. Especially with some reads of greens.
Which events has he caddied for you?
Most of them, apart from Germany and Slovakia.
How are you finding the Tour?
I’m loving it. I made my first four cuts but missed the last four. It was a bit, well, you’ve got to expect it but I’ve not let it get to me. This year is all about experience and I’m absolutely loving it so I just want to keep it going, make more cuts and keep my card.
Holly Aitchison 68 (-4)
What was the best part of your game today?
I’ve worked out my putting since last week so that was much better today and it’s probably been the best.
How many putts?
I had 31 and hit 16 greens.
What do you think about this golf course?
It’s brilliant. It’s in really, really good condition and not as hilly as I thought it would be after all the rumours going around. It’s playing really well out there.
Is this your best round of the year?
Yes. It’s been there or thereabouts for a little while now so it’s nice to finally get there.
Felicity Johnson 69 (-3)
You started well with an eagle at the fifth.
I hit a great drive down there which left a nine iron. I hit a nine iron to about 10 foot and hit a really good putt, a solid putt. I holed that then birdied nine. I didn’t hit a great drive but hit a decent pitch to about 15 foot and got control on it and rolled that in as well. I had a few other chances as well but three under at the turn wasn’t too bad. At 11, I hit a good wedge shot in to 10 foot and rolled that in. I hit a poor shot on 15: hit a driver into the rubbish on the right and made six there, which was a shame, but I made a good birdie on 17, hit a four iron into the green and two putted that for birdie.
You must be pleased that your form it coming together ahead of your title defence next week?
Yeah. I’ve been struggling a little bit of late with confidence over putts. I spent a day at home on Monday and worked on putting. I got a new bit to the routine which felt comfortable today. I just hope for a good week this week before defending in Tenerife.
I was working with my coach Paul Johnson at home. I had an afternoon putting and found something simple. It clicked today and hopefully it will continue to work.
What are your thoughts on the course?
The course is really good. It’s in fantastic condition. I was reading on the website that people are saying it’s a bit different and I think that’s a great way of describing it. It’s a really good golf course. If you hit good shots you’ll get rewarded because the greens are really good to putt on, they roll really well. If you hit bad shots you’ll get punished so it’s very fair really. It’s in great condition.
Frances Bondad 69 (-3)
Was that a satisfactory performance for you?
It was okay. It’s only the first round. I had a few birdies and a double on a par three but I kept patient because I knew I was playing well enough to have a good score.
You had three birdies in a row on 16, 17 and 18. What got the momentum going?
The momentum probably started with the par three. I’ve been putting well the last three weeks so I’m really confident with my putter. Its different greens but I still have the same stroke. Even though they are different greens you don’t change anything; if it’s working you keep at it. Reading; you’ve got to read the grain well. It’s the same stroke. You’ve got to hit the ball maybe a bit firmer because of the grain and the slopes.
Was the putting the key for you in Switzerland too?
I hit a lot of good putts out there, so yeah.
Jeehae Lee 70 (-2)
What was it like out there this morning?
They were really nice conditions. The wind picked up on the back nine but it didn’t really affect me. It will probably be tougher in the afternoon. I had a couple of loose bogeys. One was a legitimate bogey. I hit my shot really poorly on 16 and my ball was sitting on a step. I had to pick up from there. All in all I cleaned up my putting so another good round there.
Do you like the course?
I really like it. It’s fun. If you hit your tee shots correctly you have a good birdie chance on almost every hole. I hit 11 fairways and 15 greens so my ball striking was spot on today.