|Ellen Smets (top) and Lara Tadiotto (below)|
“That was our aim for today; we’ve done very well, but there is a long way to go so we’ll see how it pans out tomorrow with this new format. I’m not really sure what will be a good score tomorrow but the way we’re playing, if we keep playing like that, we’ve got every chance,” Johnson said.
The eight-time Solheim Cup player added that she had been helped by Hudson lining up her putts.
“On the greens it’s good to have a positive thought when you know what line you’re trying to hit. That worked very well,” she said.
“The Valencian Cup Format”, a variation on greensomes, will be played in the second and fourth rounds, with four balls being played again in round three on Saturday.
As England’s nearest challengers, Belgium’s Lara Tadiotto and Ellen Smets posted a 65 and were hoping for the momentum to continue in their favour.
Tadiotto made six of the team’s seven birdies but Smets said: “It was a really good team and of course I felt much more comfortable when I saw that her putter was hot.” Tadiotto added: “It was a good combination and we had fun.”
Interestingly, Smets and Tadiotto converse in English, which is neither player’s native language. Smets comes from Hasselt in the Flemish speaking part of Belgium and Tadiotto is from Brussels in the French speaking part.
Both players said they enjoyed playing for their country. “Actually it’s really good because as you know we haven’t had a government for a long time,” said Tadiotto. “She is from the Flemish part and I am from the French. In sport there is no difference and we proved that today.”
Denmark and Germany go into Friday’s second round two strokes off the pace in third place. Danes Iben Tinning and Lisa Holm Sorensen were content to have recorded seven birdies and one bogey, especially considering that Tinning underwent hip surgery at the end of January.
“I haven’t really been walking until this week. I was in Dubai but I was driving around because the doctor said I should save it,” said Tinning. “I feel alright. I’m not even tired in the hip. Sometimes I can feel it but the turning and the swing is a lot better.”
The German duo of Martina Eberl and Anja Monke combined for eight birdies in the first round but dropped two shots. They said they felt confident with the new “Valencian Cup Format.” “We are not too blonde for that. I think we can manage!” Eberl said.
The inaugural VCI European Ladies Golf Cup features four balls on days one and three, with “The Valencian Cup Format”, a variation on greensomes to be played on days two and four.
The Valencian Cup Format is where two competitors play as partners. On playing a par 3 hole, each partner will lay one stroke from the teeing ground and one ball in play will be selected by the side. This ball will be played alternately until it is holed according to the foursome format and rules of golf.
On playing a par 4 hole, each partner will play one stroke from the teeing ground. Each player will then play her partner’s ball for their second stroke. The side will then select the most advantageous ball in play and this ball will be played alternately until it is holed according to the foursome format and rules of golf.
On playing a par five hole each player plays her tee shot, each player then plays her partner’s ball for the second shot, and player’s then play the ball played by their partner for the third shot.
The most advantageous ball in play is then played alternately until the ball is holed according to the foursome format and rules of golf. Penalty strokes do not affect the order of play.