|First round leader Hannah Jun of the United States|
American Hannah Jun held a three-stroke lead after a blemish-free six-under first-round 66 at the Aberdeen Ladies Scottish Open presented by EventScotland at the Archerfield Links in East Lothian.
The 26-year-old, without a senior win in Europe or America and ranked 237th in the world, turned at three under and produced three further birdies to establish a sizeable lead from England’s Rebecca Hudson and Ashleigh Simon of South Africa.
Jun felt refreshed after a rest period at home in balmy California: “I made some really big changes while I was home: changed my set up, the line on my ball, everything really. It’s the same putter. It wasn’t the arrow, it was the Indian,” she said. “I love this golf course. The layout suits my eye.”
Her season-best finish is a tie for 11th at the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco, but she described her caddie Scott Barry as a lucky charm, since he also worked for Jeehae Lee when she led at Archerfield last year.
While some Americans are reticent to travel, Jun speaks three languages and has visited most of the countries in the world with her Korean parents, who would spend a month travelling every summer. She rates nearby Edinburgh as one of her favourite cities and as a graduate of history at UCLA, she adores Scotland, where: “Everything is just old: full of culture!”
Hudson and Simon could have been closer to Jun but both bogeyed the par-three 17th to finish three under.
Simon said: “Three under is always a good steady start to the round. I only had two drops out there. Unfortunately I finished with a drop which isn’t really great, but a good round, nevertheless.”
Hudson credited her score to using her old putter. She swapped her trusty PING B60 for an alternative model last year in Holland but had her old putter re-gripped and put back into commission for Scotland.
“I holed one outrageous putt, which I haven’t done in a long time. I also holed a couple of nice 15 footers. The best of the day was a monster from 20 yards short of the flag on the ninth,” Hudson said.
Former British Open champion Catriona Matthew led the Scottish challenge on two under, alongside England’s Henrietta Zuel, Italian Diana Luna and Caroline Afonso of France.
Matthew, from nearby North Berwick, said: ““I’m quite happy. It’s always good to finish well. I birdied three of the last five. I made a hash of the last: was in perfect position for two, a bad chip and raced the putt past so it was a good five from six feet.”
French defending champion Virginie Lagoutte-Clement was in a share of 21st on one over, while joint runner-up Sophie Walker of England was one under along with Italian Veronica Zorzi, German Caroline Masson and Scotland’s Clare Queen.