Christel Boeljon delighted her home gallery with an opening round of four under par 69 to take the outright lead at the Deloitte Ladies Open in the Netherlands.
The 27-year-old from Beverwÿk was the sole player to break 70 on a cold and blustery first day at The International, Amsterdam.
Her closest challengers were England’s Rebecca Hudson and Cathryn Bristow of New Zealand on three under par 70, followed by four players on two under par.
Boeljon, a member of the victorious European Solheim Cup team and winner of the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open in 2011, set off from the 10th and recorded back to back birdies on the 15th and 16th before dropping a shot on the par-3 17th. She then birdied three of her last four holes, finishing with a birdie on the ninth to gain a one stroke lead.
“Before I started the round I thought level par would be a good round so four under par was even better. It just happened to go my way and I’m very pleased,” said Boeljon, who finished second three weeks ago at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.
“The back nine, my swing just felt a little better rhythmically. I hit some shots close, played the par fives well and the last hole was unbelievable, because it’s a tough hole.”
Prior to Boeljon snatching the lead, Bristow led for most of the day. She had five birdies and two bogeys and said that the course reminded her of New Zealand.
“I really like the course, I love the links style, where you can hit lots of different shots with the slopes and work with the wind, not against it. I like the creativity of it and it reminds me of a course I’ve played quite a bit growing up, near the beach,” Bristow said. “I thought it was pretty difficult today. The wind picked up early on and got stronger and stronger, but I was able to control my ball flight and had quite a few good birdie chances early on and was steady through the back nine until 18, which I birdied.”
Hudson joined Bristow on three under after posting two bogeys and five birdies, including a chip in on the 16th. She said: “You had to position the golf ball well, which I did today. Everything was steady and I’m very pleased. I had a pitch shot on six to three inches and I putted very well. I had 27 putts and a chip in, which helps. I’ve got a new PING driver, I’ve just changed to a PING G30 as I’m desperately trying for more distance and it gives me more run. It’s a low spin driver so that’s what I’m aiming for.”
Rookie professional Laura Murray of Scotland, England’s Holly Aitchison, Linda Henriksson from Finland and Laura Jansone of Latvia were all on two under par, with Englishwoman Holly Clyburn, winner at The International as a rookie in 2013, a shot further behind on one under par with eight other players. The defending champion Kylie Walker had a one over par 74 to lie in a share of 28th place, five shots from the lead heading into the weekend.