Linn Grant

Linn Grant fired a bogey-free opening round of 66 (-6) to set the pace on the first day of the Mithra Belgian Ladies Open.

The Swede, who was playing alongside Spain’s Nuria Iturrioz and England’s Meghan MacLaren, rolled in a birdie on 12 before eagling the 14th and adding another birdie on 15 to make the turn in 32 (-4).

Two further birdies on her second nine saw the 22-year-old stay control as she finished on six-under-par to be at the top of the leaderboard and hold a three-stroke lead.

“We started off with two holes in the rain which wasn’t very easy, and it felt like it was going to be a long day,” said Grant, who won the 2022 Joburg Ladies Open.

“But then fortunately the rain went away, and we had a pretty decent round. The sun is out, the wind is there, but I love playing in the wind and I think it is an extra part of golf.

“In my practice round, I had one word which I thought of which was attack because you can pretty much go on every pin.

“There are no difficult short game shots around the greens, so I was just trying to be aggressive out there and I hit my driver in pretty much every hole.”

There is another Swede sat in a tie for second place on three-under-par as Ellinor Haag shot a round of 69 in her first LET event of the season, after she secured status at Q-School in December.

Haag rolled in birdies on 13 and 18, as well as the third, sixth and eighth holes with her only dropped shots – a double bogey – coming on the seventh.

“It was good, I hit really good shots all the way around except for one bad swing on seven, but it happens,” she said. “I made some putts and gave myself good chances.

“I like the course; I think it is well set up for me. I can take some good lines off the tee and hit some drives. I had good preparation last week on LETAS because there were some windy conditions as well.”

Haag is alongside France’s Anne-Charlotte Mora and Australia’s Whitney Hillier, who both also shot rounds of 69 in Belgium.

Hillier has been in fine form of late captaining her team to victory at the Aramco Team Series – Bangkok before narrowly missing out on victory at last week’s Jabra Ladies Open.

“Today I stayed really patient, hit good shots and stayed in the middle of the green more than anything,” said the Aussie. “I played really smart and had a few birdies on the back nine, so overall pretty happy with my day.

“Even though the golf course looks wide, it is sneaky hard. Especially with the wind when it picks up it is very difficult and when it switches too.

“There was a lot of longer clubs out there today compared to the practice round – it was a lot tougher than it looked.”

England’s Hayley Davis had a good start to the week carding a round of 70 (-2) to be in a share of fifth place after the first round.

“I played really well and had a lot of birdies,” said Davis, who was part of the winning Team Buhai at last year’s Aramco Team Series – Sotogrande.

“It was quite tough to start with the rain, but I played solidly. I had a lot of chances out there and had a lot of 10-foot birdie putts and made quite a few of them so that helps.”

Davis sits alongside South African trio Lee-Anne Pace, Stacy Lee Bregman and Lejan Lewthwaite, as well as France’s Agathe Sauzon, Morocco’s Ines Laklalech, Finland’s Elina Nummenpaa and Spain’s Luna Sobron Galmes.

Best of the nine Belgians on day one was amateur Savannah De Bock, who was part of the winning PING Junior Solheim Cup team last year.

The 16-year-old produced a round of 71 (-1) which included one eagle, two birdies, one bogey and one double bogey.

“It was a really amazing day! I was so excited to play with Manon De Roey and Laura Davies. They were super nice, and it was an amazing day,” she said.

“I was really excited to play in front of the crowd, the more people that came the more excited I got, and I was just so glad they were there.”

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