Carlota Ciganda from Spain and Maria Torres of Puerto Rico share the first-round lead at The Evian Championship after carding a pair of six-under-par 65s at the Evian Resort Golf Course in France.
They are one stroke clear of Austin Ernst, from Texas, with So Yeon Ryu, Brooke Henderson and Nasa Hataoka a shot further back.
The recent Ricoh Women’s British Open champion Georgia Hall, who is looking for back-to-back majors, shot a bogey-free 68 to sit in a large group on three-under, including Inbee Park.
Ciganda made the most of the warm and sunny conditions to set the target with a bogey-free 65, while LPGA rookie Torres joined her after picking up five shots in her closing six holes, which included a birdie-birdie-eagle stretch from the 13th hole.
“I love the course. It’s a really strategic course, and I don’t know, it’s awesome. It’s like you have to be here. You don’t have any advantages. You just have to play every shot as if it’s like your last one,” said Torres, who led the statistics with 24 putts in her round.
The first Puerto Rican to earn a full card on the LPGA, where she has posted two top-10 finishes this year, Torres is playing in her first Evian Championship and she added: “I just want to take it step by step and keep learning from every tournament and every event; keep progressing and keep working hard.”
The more experienced Ciganda, the 2012 LET rookie of the year and order of merit winner, birdied three of the par 5s and claimed afterwards that she didn’t even want to entertain thoughts of winning her first major.
The six-time professional tournament winner said: “It was great round for me today. I played very solid. Off the tee I hit all the fairways and then I was hitting close on the greens, especially the back nine, which was my front nine.
“Also my putting was very solid. I make some good putts: a save on 16 for par. Then I played really good on the par-5s, 3-under.
“I love this place. I love playing in Europe. My friends are here, some friends, so I really like the atmosphere.”
While Ciganda was off to watch the celebrity football match after her round, Hall said that she had an early tee time and would prefer to go for a pizza with her boyfriend and caddie, Harry.
She was pleased to have achieved her objective of being bogey-free, with three birdies in her first eight holes, but also left a few putts out there on the back nine.
“I had it in my head as well that I wanted to be bogey-free, and that’s quite a special thing I think round this golf course. I’ll take that as my first round. I’m quite happy with that,” Hall said.
“This golf course is pretty tough, and the greens especially. It’s quite tough and some demanding tee shots as well. You have to be a good putter to play well around this golf course and score low.”
On her goals for the next three days, she said: “Hole some more putts, because every putt seems to break about four foot and it’s pretty tough.”
In the race for the world number one spot, the current holder Sung Hyun Park shot a six-over-par 77 to sit in a share of 98th place and only 70 players will make the cut.
The world number two, Ariya Jutanugarn, who needs a top seven finish to have a chance to regain her place at the summit, opened with a level par 71 to sit in 35th place alongside fellow challenger Lexi Thompson. Ryu, who is tied for fourth and Park, who is tied for seventh, could also return to world number one with a win.