First round leader Anja Monke

(Tenerife – Thursday 24th September 2009) — Germany’s Anja Monke enjoyed a stellar start to the Tenerife Ladies Open, carding a seven-under-par 65 to take a one stroke lead after the opening round.

The 32-year-old from Hannover fired an eagle and eight birdies against three bogeys on a gorgeous day at Golf Costa Adeje.

She edged ahead of Wales’ Becky Brewerton and American Beth Allen in the eighth edition of the event, being played at Golf Costa Adeje for the third time.

Brewerton, twice a runner-up on Tenerife, as an amateur in 2003 and as a professional in 2004, set the pace in the morning when she birdied five of her opening eight holes.

Monke played the front nine in two-under-par 34 but came back in 31, overhauling Brewerton and Allen when she pitched in for eagle at the 18th hole.

“The last shot helped,” said Monke, who won her two victories on the Ladies European Tour at the 2008 Open de France Dames and Dubai Ladies Masters.

She explained how she eagled the 472-yard par-five 18th. “The second shot I didn’t put myself in a nice position there. I had a really difficult pitch over a little slope in front of the green and towards a flag which was short on the green. I said to my caddie, “This shot is almost impossible.” He said, “Just make a good shot out of it and we’ll see.” I hit a really good shot and it caught the centre of the hole and went in for an eagle. It was nice.”

Monke is due to marry to Kai Winkelvoss on 6th November and she has decided to compete in Europe next year, where she can see her husband at the weekends.

Brewerton, who won her second LET title at the Open de Espana in July, continued her love affair with Spain, carding seven birdies in a 66.

“Whenever we have these Spanish tournaments I seem to do quite well so to add another one would be very nice,” said the 26-year-old from Abergele, who is ranked third on Europe’s Henderson Money List.

“I’m hitting it really well and we’ve worked the grain out on the greens quite well. I came out of the box really quickly and putted well early on. I hit the ball close. I mean, my game was great and to get to five-under after nine was really, really good.”

Allen, 27, who has yet to win on the Ladies European Tour, was happy with her 66, which included four birdies and an eagle. She said that the course reminded her of her native San Diego: “I generally play well near the ocean; because I live near the ocean. It reminds me of home. I like the weather here and it’s nice to relax and be in Tenerife.”

An early eagle at the 369-yard par-four 15th helped build the momentum.

“I hit 111 in, a little wedge and it looked good all the way and rolled right in. I was four-under through six holes, so that was nice,” she said.

Italy’s Stefania Croce was one of the few players teeing off in the afternoon to make an impression on the leader board. She carded a five-under 67, playing in slightly more wind.

Spain’s Beatriz Recari was back in action for the first time since securing her maiden professional victory at the Finnair Masters in Finland four weeks ago and carded a 68 to sit three shots off the pace at four-under-par.

“It’s always great to play at home. It’s very special to play in your own country,” said the 22-year-old from Pamplona. “I played very good. I was relaxed out there.”

England’s Melissa Reid and Felicity Johnson, Finland’s Ursula Wikstrom, Karen-Margrethe Juul of Denmark and Germany’s Bettina Hauert rounded out the top 10 places, all in a share of sixth on three-under-par.