England’s Melissa Reid, Morgan Pressel of the United States and South Korea’s Sun Ju Ahn shared the first round lead at the 17th Evian Masters presented by Société Générale.
The trio, all aged 22, finished on six under par 66 after a cool and overcast day with occasional showers at the Evian Masters Golf Club in Evian-les-Bains, France.
Reid fired eight birdies and two bogeys to match Pressel’s six under total in the morning.
The Turkish Airlines Ladies Open champion fired three straight birdies from the picturesque fifth hole. She dropped a shot at the eighth but recovered with a great up and down from the bunker at the ninth for an outward total of 33, three under par.
Further birdies at the 10th, 12th and 13th gave her a one stroke advantage over Pressel, but she fell back with a dropped a shot at the 16th. She regained a share of the lead by sinking a six foot birdie putt at the par-five 18th hole for an inward total of 33 and her caddie, Lee Griffiths, said it was, “a perfect round of golf.”
“I hit the fairways, hit the greens, hit my zones I wanted to hit, and then just rolled in a few good putts,” said Reid, who has been working on her putting over the last fortnight with her coach, Dave Ridley. “I’ve been working quite closely on my putting, because he thinks that’s a weakness in my game. So we’ve changed the posture a little bit, and I seem to be rolling the ball a lot nicer this week.”
Reid claimed her maiden professional victory in May but the Evian Masters, with a purse of US $3.25 million, presents a greater challenge and is a Major on the Ladies European Tour.
“I played well in Turkey, but I feel like I’ve not played my A Game yet this year but I’ve still managed to finish top 10 most weeks. So I certainly feel that my game is going in the right direction. That obviously gives you a bit of confidence. And then you play an event like this and you see how you compare against the big girls. So it was quite nice to shoot 66 today. I proved to myself that I can do it,” she said.
Pressel, who won the 2007 Kraft Nabisco Championship as a teenager, carded seven birdies and a solitary bogey. She said: “It was a very solid day. The only fairway I missed was on the last hole, and it was because it kind of got a weird bounce.I hit 15 greens. I felt like I was striking the ball well and gave myself a lot of chances.”
Ahn, who last week won the Stanley Ladies tournament on the Korean Ladies Professional Golf Tour, mixed six birdies with two bogeys and an eagle at the par-five 18th.
Ahn was one of the few players to advance in the afternoon’s more tricky conditions, when the competitors had to deal with occasional heavy rain showers.
South Korean Song-Hee Kim also moved into the hunt with a 67 in the afternoon to match the score of her compatriot MJ Hur.
American Michelle Wie, who suffered heat exhaustion during Wednesday’s Pro Am, appeared to have recovered thanks to a large stock of Powerade and shot a round of 68.
Also on 68 in a share of sixth position were the Women’s Australian Open champion Yani Tseng, Mika Miyazato, Meena Lee, Mi Jeong Jeon, Na Yeon Choi and Jeong Jang, the 2005 Ricoh Women’s British Open champion at Royal Birkdale.
The second round begins at 6.50am on Friday ahead of the halfway cut to the leading 70 players and ties.