Dutch star Anne van Dam fired a bogey free 65 (-6) on Thursday at the Jabra Ladies Open to lead by two shots after round one at Evian Resort Golf Club.

Starting her round on the 15th tee, the five-time Ladies European Tour (LET) winner got off to a solid start when she birdied the par-4 17th before making the turn.

After a string of pars, van Dam soon lit up the flatsick as she made three consecutive birdies on the 7th, 8th, and 9th to soar into a share of the lead with France’s Celine Herbin.

“I changed my putter grip a couple of weeks ago,” van Dam said. “I was struggling pretty bad in tournaments. This was the first tournament where I’ve been able to test it under some pressure and I’m really happy with how I putted.”

Powering through the jetlag after spending the past few weeks in the United States, the 27-year-old then birdied the 12th before finishing with another on the challenging par-3 14th.

van Dam said: “It was a very pleasant round here around Evian. I’ve had way worse rounds! It was very enjoyable. No bogeys is great and with six birdies around this place I’m obviously really delighted.

“I played towards my strengths. I’ve played so many rounds around here that I know all the pin positions, where to attack, and where to just hit it in the middle of the green. I took my chances and rolled in my putts. Overall I made a very good game plan and days like this are very nice when you can execute it.”

While van Dam’s last LET victory came four years ago at the Andalucia Open De Espana, the one-time Solheim Cup star will be hoping she can use her experience to capture win number six this week.

“It would be great to win again,” she continued. “Obviously I know how hard winning is. Especially the last couple of years I’ve come close many times. But I know what to do and I know what it takes, so that for me means one shot at a time. I’m just focused on my first tee shot tomorrow and we’ll go from there.”

The beforementioned Herbin sits in solo second after carding a 67 (-4) on home soil. Also starting on the 15th, the 40-year-old hit the ground running following the seven-week break on the LET as she birdied her first hole on the long par-5.

Chasing a third LET victory, Herbin then fired three consecutive birdies on the 17th, 18th, and 1st, before carding another at the par-3 5th.

A bogey at the 6th briefly halted her momentum before a bounce back birdie on the 7th and another on the 9th moved the French star to -6.

But after storming into a three shot lead, Herbin dropped shots at the 12th and 13th before seeing her birdie putt fall agonisingly short on the 14th.

“Of course I’m pleased with today,” she said. “The finish was the finish, it doesn’t matter. Sometimes you finish well, sometimes you finish bad. Overall it was very positive, seven birdies on this course is quite a good achievement. I enjoyed today a lot.

“I already know what it’s like to win in France and it was a lovely feeling. I’m ready to feel it again so we’ll see. I won in 2019 in Spain, it’s been four years so. I’ve done the work to get my game back so hopefully it’s going to happen soon.”

Hot on Herbin’s heels is Sweden’s Linn Grant who sits in third after firing a 68 (-3) at Evian Resort Golf Club – the same venue she finished T8 at in last year’s Amundi Evian Championship.

“Solid play today,” the 2022 Race to Costa del Sol winner said. “I was around the pins all day but didn’t quite get the speed of the greens to really settle in. But I made a few birdies and I’m hoping for some more tomorrow.

“Last time I played Jabra I thought it was a really tricky course with the set-up and the conditions. But I got a hang of it at the Evian and now I know the strategic play of the course and my way around it.”

Denmark’s Nicole Broch Estrup is in solo fourth after carding a steady 69 (-2). Six players sit in a tie for fifth on -1 including defending champion Tia Koivisto

“We had two months off so it’s nice to come back to a place that I know well,” the Finnish star said. “I think I know the course better than I know myself!”

The second round begins on Friday morning at 7.50 am local time and there will be a cut of the top 60 players plus ties at the end of play. The full leaderboard can be found here.

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