Caroline Rominger from Switzerland, Rachel Raastad from Norway, Karolin Lampert from Germany and Kelsey MacDonald from Scotland held a four-way share of the lead on five under par 67 after the first round of the Ladies European Tour’s Lalla Aicha Tour School Final Qualifying in Marrakech, Morocco, on Friday.
Rominger and Lampert played on the Samanah Country Club Course, while Raastad and MacDonald had successful rounds on the nearby Amelkis Course on a beautiful day of blue skies and sunshine.
Rominger’s round included an eagle on the par-4 15th, where she holed her second shot from 112 metres using a 9-iron, as well as five birdies and two bogeys. The 32-year-old from Samedan, who played a mixed season on the LET and LET Access Series in 2015, said: “I’m very happy. I made a lot of birdies and holed out a shot from the fairway so I’m happy with the round. It’s always good to start like this. I was playing well up to there and I had quite a few chances and I didn’t make them before so I thought maybe this was fair. I think it’s still a lot of golf to play but it’s nice to start like this so you’re not behind.”
Lampert, 20, who plays at The 2015 Solheim Cup venue, Golf Club St. Leon-Rot, had six birdies and one bogey, on the sixth hole. She said: “It was a really good round and I felt really good out there so I’m very happy with my round today. Everything was solid. I only had one bogey which was a three putt and I only missed one green. The greens were really fast today so it wasn’t easy to get close to them and make the putts so I’m really happy with six birdies.
“The whole year was really bad for me. I played on the LETAS and missed all the cuts apart from the last two, when I won the Azores Ladies Open and then played quite well in England. I’m very happy to discover my game again. It was hard to spend two months at home waiting for Tour School. I played pretty well at Pre-Q last week so I hope it will continue.”
There are eight players a stroke further back on four under par 68 including Kiran Matharu from England, who set the target at Samanah early in the day after making three straight birdies from the sixth and adding a fourth on the 11th.
The 26-year-old from Yorkshire said: “I didn’t start off particularly well but I saved a few bunker shots and after that I holed two 15 footers for birdie. On the par 3 I hit it to about one foot. I just played steady all the way around and then made another birdie and after that I parred my way in from 11 onwards. I didn’t have any birdies on the par 5s so there were more chances but I’m happy with four under. It was a good start to the tournament.
“I think Samanah is easier than Amelkis and there are more birdie chances because it’s shorter. There are a few longer holes on the Amelkis course so you just have to make sure you hit a good drive on those holes.”
The Final Qualifier is a 90-hole, or five round, marathon, with a cut to the top 60 players and ties after the first four rounds, or 72 holes. The final round is scheduled to be played at Samanah Country Club on Tuesday.