England’s Sian Evans and Luisa Dittrich of Germany set the pace with matching rounds of three-under-par 69 on the first day of the Ladies European Tour’s Pre-Qualifier A for Lalla Aicha Tour School at at PalmGolf Marrakesh Palmeraie, in Morocco, on Thursday.
Evans, 26, a teaching professional at Kingshill Golf Club in Kent, made a terrific start, with two birdies in her first three holes, making putts from eight and 12 feet at the first and third respectively. She made another unexpected gain at the long seventh, where she holed a 40 footer for birdie, but dropped a shot after finding the sand on the short eighth.
She had a steady back nine of eight pars and ended with her best shot of the day on the 18th, where she hit a 4-iron shot up to 10 feet and holed the birdie putt.
After playing in warm conditions, she said: “I’m really pleased. You always hope to make a steady start and it was great to get under par early on, which gave me some momentum and I only dropped one shot. This is my second time at Tour School and it would mean the world to me to qualify for the Ladies European Tour.”
In contrast, Dittrich started with a bogey on her opening hole, the 10th, and had another at the sixth, but she made five birdies, at holes 13, 14, 17, eight and nine, to move to the top of the leader board.
The 26-year-old from Hamburg, who plays on the LET Access Series and Santander Golf Tour in Spain, said: “I felt a bit nervous on the first tee, I hit a good drive, but hit the second a bit fat into the bunker. However, I recovered my composure and hit a lot of greens and close to the flag. I hit it really close on 17, for a tap-in birdie.”
The pair are a stroke ahead of South African Nobuhle Dlamini and three other players are on one-under-par: Sweden’s Frida Gustafsson-Spang, Sara Gee from England and Norwegian Madelene Stavnar.
The top 36 players and ties after four rounds, or 72 holes, will advance to the Final Stage of Lalla Aicha Tour School, to be held at Amelkis Golf Club and PalmGolf Marrakesh Ourika from Friday 16th to Tuesday 20th December, joining those LET members who are already exempt and further players from Pre Qualifiers B and C.
After the Final Stage, the top 5 players will be eligible for Ladies European Tour Membership in Category 5c (or equivalent of Cat. 5c for 2019). Players from 6th to 25th position will be eligible for Membership in Category 8a in 2019.
This is the seventh year of the Ladies European Tour’s Qualifying School in Morocco, renamed Lalla Aicha Tour School in honour of HRH The Late Princess Lalla Aicha.