(Arras, June 19 2003) After a day of high winds and the threat of a storm, three players battled the tough conditions to share the first round lead of the €275,000 Open de France Dames at Le Golf d’Arras in Northern France.

Malin Burstrom – best round of year so far

The trio lead four players on three under par including England’s Kirsty Taylor, who looked full of confidence on a tough day as she rallied to four birdies and a bogey for her 69, Spaniard Marina Arruti who has been showing consistent form lately, Denmark’s Karen Margrethe Juul and Sweden’s Johanna Westerberg.

Lurking just a shot further back on tow under are Ana-Belen Sanchez from Spain and the glamorous Swede Carin Koch, who is playing in her second event since giving birth to son Simzon Michael Koch last April.

Brooky, who won her second Tour title here last year with ease, slipped into gear straightaway with a birdie at the tenth, her opening hole. Consecutive birdies followed at the 13th and 14th, but the wheels came off with a trio of bogeys starting at the 15th to turn in level par.

Koch – It was windy out there!

And Stevenson, who last January was cleaning dishes in a hospital in Perth to make ends meet, and who went on to finish runner up behind Laura Davies at the ANZ Masters just three weeks later, bounced back to her best and could extend her lead in the Bill Johnson Rookie of the year race.

“I was speaking to my caddie yesterday and we agreed that some of the par fours out here would have to be par fives for me in a strong wind and that’s how I went about it today,” said Stevenson.

“My birdie on the 16th felt like and eagle and at the last, I made a great up and down to save par.

“I’m now getting used to everything in Tour, the finish I had in the ANZ was pretty incredible and helped me start my life on Tour and now I am getting used to the travel, the people, different food and the quick greens we are playing in over in Europe. My first few weeks were tough and now I feel confident I can go and win soon.”