(Porthcawl, August 22 2002)England’s Claire Duffy opted out of semi-retirement and returned to Tour life by snatching the first round lead on six under par at the £400,000 Wales WPGA Championship at Royal Porthcawl GC.

Pettersen – heartfelt decision to play

The 20-year-old from Oslo birdied the fifth and lobbed in an eagle at the eighth from 12 feet, adding more birdies at the 10th, 13th, 16th to reach six under. But a bogey at the final hole undid some sterling work as she showed her liking for the course where she finished second last year behind Helen Alfredsson.

“Sometimes you just have to follow your heart and I just felt it was right to play here and I was very lucky that I got a place,” said the 2001 Rookie of the year.

“I’ve been playing well for the last three weeks and it’s great that I finally scored as well as I played. Today I was great from tee to green and holed some putts and did the job on the par fives.”

Before her round, Mendiburu spoke with her caddie and agreed that they would have a “steady start”. With birdies at the first three holes, all from inside six feet, her bag man simply proffered, “ Aye, that was steady enough!”

Capitalising on her start, the 29-year-old from Bayonne showed a return to the form that won her three Evian Tour titles with another birdie at the eighth and three more in the first four holes of her back nine, including a chip in at the 13th to reach six under par.

Around then, the wind was freshening off the Bristol Channel and Mendiburu survived the buffeting to post 68.

“I played well and I couldn’t ask for a better start,” said Mendiburu, whose best finish this year was tenth at the Spanish Open.

“I’m not too familiar with links golf, but it’s fun. Every shot is so different and you have to think over all of your shots – It’s a kind of course you cannot be lucky on, if you miss a shot you pay for it.

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