|Sandra Gal played in the second group from the first tee on Friday|
Germany’s Sandra Gal and South Korean Se Ri Pak shared the clubhouse lead early on Friday in the first round of the Evian Championship in Evian-les-Bains, France.
Both fired five-under-par 66s in warm and sunny conditions on the remodelled Evian Resort Golf Course.
The 28-year-old Gal from Dusseldorf had a flawless round with birdies on the second, third, 14th, 16th and 17th holes. “I was lucky, because I hit the hole on 14, I had a downhill putt on that par three, but that was the longest one,” said Gal, who felt that the course changes fitted her game better: “I did not play well here before. They made the course a little bit longer, which suits me as a longer hitter as well as hitting creative shots into the greens so I’m pleased about these changes.”
Pak, a five time major champion, had six birdies and one dropped shot in her 66, having started at the 10th.
The 16-year-old amateur Lydia Ko from New Zealand, who could become the youngest ever winner of a major this week, posted a three-under-par round of 68 after sinking a birdie putt on the ninth, her last hole. Hee-Won Han and Angela Stanford ended on two-under-par.
Spain’s Azahara Munoz, a member of Europe’s victorious Solheim Cup team in Colorado a month ago, began well with a one-under-par 70 to sit alongside Il Hee Lee.
The 25-year-old Munoz, from San Pedro del Alcantara near Malaga, said: “I was two over through six and I came back after that so I’m very happy with that and it feels good to be under par in a major.”
She approved of the course changes, adding: “The course is pretty wet but today was so nice and its beautiful here. I think we’re all super happy to be back.”
Elsewhere, Norwegian Marianne Skarpnord opened with a steady level par 71 early in the day.