(Borgo San Lorenzo, Italy May 16 2002) England’s Lora Fairclough, Norway’s Suzann Pettersen and New Zealander Gina Scott lead the field on six under par after a glut of low scoring with 35 players under par after the first round of the £117,000 La Perla Italian Open at Poggio dei Medici GC in Tuscany.

Silvia Cavalleri from Italy entertained the crowd with a scintillating display of birdies, eagles and bogies for a five under 68 to take sole possession of fourth place.

Five players share fifth spot on four under including Swedish Tour rookies Maria Boden and Cecilia Ekelundh, England’s Sarah Bennett, Denmark’s Iben Tinning and a resilient Amaia Arruti from Spain.

Arruti, who won the Italian Open in 1993, reached six under par after 15 holes, but felt seriously ill on the 16th hole and, unsurprisingly, finished with two bogies in the final three holes to fall back.

And three players fired three under par 70 including Sweden’s Erica Steen, Karine Icher from France and England’s Georgina Simpson.

Scott – saving a few putts!

“I’m really happy with that, I left a couple of putts out there but that’s OK, I’m saving them up for the rest of the week!”

Starting her round at the tenth hole, Pettersen raced into contention with a birdie at the 12th, followed by a chip in from 30 feet for eagle at the 13th. Another birdie followed at the 17th to turn in 32.

On her inward nine, the 2001 rookie of the year obliged with further birdies at the second, third and fifth, but blotted her copybook with a three putt from 40 feet at the final hole.

“I’m used to three putting the last hole,” laughed Pettersen, who lost in a playoff to Denmark’s Iben Tinning in the Irish Open having three putted the final hole twice on Sunday.

“It’s a great course with some very good holes and you have to play a bit of target golf out there at times.

“I was very calm and relaxed and took it shot by shot and I’m happy with today – except the last hole!”