Madelene Sagstrom

Sweden’s Madelene Sagstrom is in a three-way tie at the top of the leaderboard after the first round of the AIG Women’s Open.

Sagstrom fired a round of 67 (-5) which included seven birdies and two bogeys to be in a share of the lead.

The Swedish star played alongside European Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew and Japanese amateur Tsubasa Kajitani.

“It was very solid. I putted really, really well. I think that was kind of what saved me. I made some really long putts today, and I knew that, if I could just get on the green, I have a chance for birdie or a chance to save my par. I wasn’t striking it great, but I was missing in the right spots. I didn’t really lose any shots there and my putting was really what helped me out,” said the 28-year-old.

Alongside Sagstrom at the top are American Nelly Korda and South Korea’s Sei Young Kim, who also both shot rounds of five-under-par.

Major winner Korda, who is number one in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, made eight birdies on her way to a share of the lead.

“I played well. I took advantage of kind of the calmer day. It was definitely chillier in the morning. I’m not used to that coming from Tokyo, but I think I just took advantage of all my opportunities and played some solid golf,” said the Olympic gold medallist.

“It has taken time to adapt to links golf. I feel like the more I play links-style golf courses, the more I’m learning about my game here.”

Four players are one stroke back on four-under-par including 2018 Women’s Open champion Georgia Hall.

The English star went on a run in the middle of her round and rolled in six birdies on holes six through to 16.

Hall said: “I’m very happy with that. There wasn’t much wind at all, so I tried to take advantage of that. It was a fairly slow front nine, but I managed to get some putts to drop in the back. It’s so nice to be playing at home and in front of home crowds cheering me on. I rarely get to play links golf nowadays. It’s just a lot of happiness when I’m here.”

The Major champion was joined on four-under-par by Scottish amateur Louise Duncan who carded a round of 68 which included an eagle on 14.

“I was very nervous with a wee bit of excitement in there and then when it started to go really well the nerves came back, my heart rate went up. But overall, I really enjoyed it, and I’m already looking forward to tomorrow,” said Duncan.

American Andrea Lee and 2021 U.S. Women’s Open champion Yuka Saso are also tied for fourth place.

There are three players who sit in a tie for eighth place after the first day; American duo Lexi Thompson and Lizette Salas, as well as Spain’s Carlota Ciganda shot rounds of 68 (-3) to round out the top ten.

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