Spain’s Paula Marti

Marti, the 2002 order of merit winner, was hot on her heels after firing eight birdies and three bogeys. The two-time LET champion from Barcelona is hoping to build on her seven top ten finishes so far this season.

“Today was really solid and I hit it really close, which was the key. My birdie putts were short ones. I’ve been practising those putts a lot and I think I am getting more consistent in making them,” the 28-year-old said.

Fellow Spaniard Elosegui continued her run of recent form after two joint runner-up finishes in her last three events. The 26-year-old from San Sebastian tied for second in France last week as well as in Norway a fortnight earlier. She was delighted to have birdied four of her opening five holes and despite dropping two shots at the sixth and ninth holes, finished strongly with birdies at the 10th, 11th and 18th.

“I liked the course last year and I like it again this year; five-under is quite a good start,” said Elosegui, who is a third year tour player. “I made some good birdies at the beginning. Towards the end I was not hitting great shots but I hit the green and made two putts for par with a birdie on 18 with two putts so I am very happy with five-under.”

South Korea’s Amy Yang, 19, who has won twice in 2008, at the HypoVereinsbank Ladies German Open and the Scandinavian TPC Hosted by Annika, was fifth on four-under 69. A group of six players share sixth on 70: Johanna Westerberg of Sweden, Felicity Johnson and Laura Davies from England, Spain’s Carmen Alonso and the Danish duo of Lisa Holm Sorensen and Iben Tinning.