Anna Magnusson

Anna Magnusson fired an opening round of 66 (-6) to lead by two shots at the end of the first day of the Belgian Ladies Open.

The Swedish player started her day at Naxhelet Golf Club well with two birdies in her first four holes, before she rolled in two more on eight and nine.

The 28-year-old then dropped a shot on the 11th but bounced back with birdies on 12, 13 and 15 for a round of six-under-par.

“I just enjoyed playing golf again,” said Magnusson. “I really had a good day, I made a lot of putts and made one really long one. I just tried to put myself in good positions all the time and it worked out.

“The course just feels like Sweden out there, especially in the south of Sweden and the wind also is like there. This course reminds me of next week’s course. I wasn’t expecting to play well today as I had a few rough weeks. The past two weeks have been really rough for me, so I just really enjoyed it out there. My caddie really cheered me up and helped me out there. Tomorrow we’re going to do the same, try to hit the ball straight and have fun.”

Four players sit in a tie for second place with Japan’s Yuri Onishi, Norway’s Madelene Stavnar, Switzerland’s Vanessa Knecht and Spain’s Mireia Prat on four-under-par.

LET rookie Onishi, who teed off from the 10th, set the early pace this morning after carding one birdie and one bogey on her front before rolling in five birdies and one bogey on her back nine.

Onishi said: “My round was good and I putted very well today so I was able to get to four-under-par. It is the first time for me as a rookie on the LET, but I’m happy to play tournaments and it’s exciting!”

Norway’s Stavnar only dropped one shot today on the 15th and made birdies on the second, seventh, ninth, 12th and 14th holes.

“It was a good round and one of the days where golf is a little bit easier than other days,” said Stavnar. “I made a lot of birdies out there and I was not in a lot of trouble. On the last hole there, I made par and it was not a good lie, so my short game was working.

“The plan is to stick to the fairway, hit a lot of greens and then you will have a lot of birdie chances but the rough is thick!”

While in the afternoon wave, it was Switzerland’s Knecht who produced a round of 68 which included eight birdies and four bogeys.

Knecht explained: “I felt like we had a good game plan coming into this week, my preparation was really good. It was quite windy today, we adjusted lines and although we had a game plan we adjusted it well on the course. On the greens, I also had the confidence to hole a few putts.

“On certain holes, I definitely capitalised on shots into the green, so they were close, and I didn’t have to work hard for a birdie, but then, on the other hand, I holed a few longer putts as well. My driving and iron game was really good today.”

While Prat only made one error today with a double bogey on the seventh but rolled in six birdies to get to four-under-par.

She said: “I made six birdies today and one double bogey on the seventh hole, which was my only mistake. It was not a bad shot, but I was in the rough and I had a tough chip and with the downhill and the pin was very close, but then I finished with a birdie on the ninth. I’m happy. I enjoyed my round and I think I played very steady.”

A whole host of players sit one shot further back in a tie for sixth place on three-under-par including Belgium’s own Manon De Roey, who rolled in five birdies and two bogeys on her opening day at Naxhelet.

“I’m very happy with my three-under today,” said the LET winner. “I’m happy to be under par again – it’s been a while! It gives me some confidence for the next few days. It’s really nice to play at home and see all the people who have come out to watch.

“Last year, it was the first time in a while there had been an LET tournament in Belgium and it’s great to have it. Just to encourage younger girls and upcoming talents to become professional one day and just to grow the sport here in Belgium is very important.

“Last week it was hard, and I lost a bit of confidence there, so it was nice to play on home soil and it was quite good. I played pretty steady too.”

De Roey sits alongside English duo Rosie Davies and Cara Gainer, Finland’s Noora Komulainen, German pair Olivia Cowan and Chiara Noja, Dutch star Anne Van Dam, Italy’s Virginia Elena Carta, South Africa’s Stacy Lee Bregman and Spain’s Maria Hernandez.

The second round begins at 8.00 am local time on Saturday morning and at the conclusion of play, there will be a cut to the top-60 professionals and ties.

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