Defending champion Gwladys Nocera from France

One shot back in a share of third on four-under-par 68 was England’s Melissa Reid, Ireland’s Rebecca Coakley, Italy’s Margherita Rigon, Finland’s Ursula Wikstrom and two further French players: Cassandra Kirkland and Anne-Lise Caudal.

Reid, playing in her first year on the Ladies European Tour, fired six birdies and two bogeys on a course she had played before the tournament week. The Derbyshire golfer was third at the MFS Women’s Australian Open at tied for tenth in Scotland but came into the week after two missed cuts.

“I think the last couple of weeks my mind hasn’t been totally focused on my golf. Now that’s been sorted and today I was just concentrating on one shot at a time,” said the 20-year-old. “There are two more rounds to go and there are plenty of birdies out there. I’ve just got to focus on one shot at a time and do the best I can.”

Reid, who has been working with rugby’s Sir Clive Woodward on bringing a more scientific approach to her golf, added that improvements to her putting had helped her scoring. “I hit a couple close but took my birdie chances when I got them,” she said. “You can’t win it on the first day but putting myself up there gives me a good chance for the next couple of days. Hopefully I can improve on my score each day.”

Coakley, a fourth year LET player aiming for a maiden tour victory, posted a season best tie for 11th, with a career-low 63 in the first round, at the Deutsche Bank Ladies’ Swiss Open a fortnight ago.
She was pleased to be coming into form ahead of the main leg of the summer season. “It’s starting to come together,” said Coakley, Ireland’s leading player on the LET. “In Germany, I hit the ball alright but just didn’t score. Today I hit the ball good for the first nine and then a little average on the back nine but held it together and made a few birdies.”

Four players shared ninth place on three-under-par: four-time LET champion Lynn Brooky from New Zealand, Italy’s Sophie Sandolo, England’s Felicity Johnson and Paula Marti from Spain, who had two eagles in her opening round.