Sweden’s Elin Emanuelsson made an impressive start in her attempt at Ladies European Tour qualification for 2011 as she shot an opening round of four-under-par 69 on the South Course at La Manga Club in Spain on Monday.

The 26-year-old LET professional, who is trying to retain her tour card, managed to post six birdies and just two bogeys as she played through cold and wet conditions in temperatures of less than 10 degrees in Cartagena, Murcia.

She finished a stroke ahead of French amateur Joanna Klatten, who also played on the south course, while Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall, who recently turned professional, was a stroke behind in third.

Those were the only players to beat par on a brutal day at one of the toughest tournaments on the calendar.

Scotland’s Clare Queen was fourth after a level par 72 and is trying to stay on tour for a sixth season next year.

Spain’s Belen Mozo, Portugal’s Monia Bernardo, French amateur Lucie Andre and Jaclyn Sweeney of the United States are a shot back in equal fifth, while four professionals are six shots off the lead. They are Finland’s Kaisa Ruuttila, Garrett Phillips of the USA, Swede Mikaela Parmlid and England’s Rachel Jennings.

At the end of four rounds, the top 70 players and ties from a field of 165 will move on to Final Qualifying from 15-19 December, trying to earn one of the top 30 places that will earn LET Membership in category 8a.