Charley Hull, Kylie Walker and Yu Yang Zhang are tied for the first round lead at the Ladies German Open presented by Marriott after they all shot eight-under-par 64s on a day of high temperatures and low scoring at Golfclub Wörthsee near Munich.
China’s Zhang, 22, set the early target with eight birdies on her card and was later joined by Britons Hull and Walker, who played in blazing sunshine, with highs of 29C.
Hull began with birdies on 11 and 14 but bogeyed 15. After a few words of encouragement from her caddie, Gary Wildman, she immediately recovered with a birdie on 16 and then rallied with an eagle and four birdies on her back nine.
“I played the back nine first and I wasn’t quite feeling it,” said the 18-year-old Lalla Meryem Cup champion. “I couldn’t get going and didn’t have any motivation so I said to Gary, ‘Set me a target.’ I was one under at the time and he said, ‘Get to eight under for your round. So I said, ‘Okay’, and shot six under on my back nine. It was quite good.
“Today, two minutes before my tee time, I changed my putting grip, and it worked pretty well. Last week, I didn’t have my hands fully enough on the grip with my putting stroke and I’m not holing enough putts. I get quite streaky where one round I hole every putt and another I miss, so this way I can get more feel and hold it more. To shoot eight under, you’ve got to hole the putts and you’ve got to finish it off, so eight under any day is not a bad score.”
Walker’s career-low round was bogey-free with six birdies and an eagle on the par-5 15th, where she hit a good drive and then a 4-iron shot to 15 feet from the flag. The 27-year-old Deloitte Ladies Open champion said: “It’s one of those courses where there are a lot of birdies out there but I was hitting it nice and close into the par fours and took advantage on the par fives. As a golfer you’re always going to say you left a couple out there but I’m really happy with eight under and it’s a good solid start.”
Zhang, who finished second in the Sanya Ladies Open in October, made four birdies on the front nine and four on the back. She said: ““Today my putting was really good and I think everything was in good shape. I hit 16 greens and even the two when I wasn’t on the green, I chipped in and putted in, so that’s really good.”
The defending champion Carlota Ciganda from Spain and 2012 German Open winner Anne-Lise Caudal of France were a stroke behind the leaders on seven-under-par. Ciganda was nine-under after 16 holes but bogeyed 17 and 18.
With such low scoring and similarly warm and benign conditions forecast for the remaining three days, there is the tantalising prospect of a record score this week. The all-time lowest total in a 72-hole Ladies European Tour (LET) tournament is 259, 29-under-par, by Gwladys Nocera at the 2008 Goteborg Masters in Sweden. Six years on and Nocera opened the German Open with a three-under-par 69 to lie in a share of 22nd place.
|Yu Yang Zhang|