Cloe Frankish (above) who had a narrow escape from a fire during a practice round
Luisa Dittrich of Germany made a sensational start to the Final Stage of the Ladies European Tour’s Lalla Aicha Tour School for 2018 by recording her lowest ever round, a six-under-par 66, at Amelkis Golf Club in Marrakech, Morocco, on Saturday.
The 25-year-old from Hamburg holds a one stroke lead over three other players: Julia Engström from Sweden and Laura Sedda from Italy, who also played their first rounds on the Amelkis Course and Casey Danielson of the United States of America, who played at Palm Golf Ourika.
With 25 Tour cards available following the fifth round on Wednesday, a total of 39 players shot one-under-par or better on the first day.
Cloe Frankish and her friend Gemma Clews from England were amongst a group of 15 players who shot opening rounds of level par 72, despite a fire at their rented apartment on Thursday.
The pair were playing practice rounds when they received a call to tell them that the boiler in the kitchen of the flat they had rented through Air BnB had fallen off the wall and caught fire. Luckily no one was harmed, but the smoke blackened their clothes and caused damage to some of their golf equipment.
Cloe, 18, from Chart Hills Golf Club in Kent, said: “The boiler exploded and it ruined all our clothes and they are all black. We had to move into the official hotel and missed a practice round. My iPad is black. It melted the clubface of my 3-iron so I’ve replaced it with a rescue wood. All my gloves, our suitcases and travel bags are covered in soot. This morning we got the golf balls out of the car and they were black so we had to clean them. Today I just tried to forget about it.”
There was no such drama for Dittrich, who had an eagle, seven birdies and three bogeys on her card. She said: “I loved it. This was my best ever round and to finish with a birdie was a bonus.”
Swedish amateur Engstrom, 16, from Halmstad, had a flawless round containing three birdies on the front nine and an eagle on the last, where she hit driver, 6-iron and converted a putt from one metre. She said afterwards: “I played very solid today with my irons and wedge game and didn’t have too many long putts. I’m just taking one shot at a time as it’s not like a normal tournament.”
Stanford Alum Danielson, from Osceola near Wisconsin, was pleased with her score and she said: “It was a funny story because on the first hole I accidentally grabbed the wrong club and I hit it in the water. From there on I was able to play steady.”
A stroke back on four-under-par are Ariane Provot and Manon Molle, who played at Amelkis and Victoria Lovelady, who played at Palm Golf Ourika. She said: “I think the course is playing really fair and the greens are receiving the ball well. I’m just focusing on one shot at a time and enjoying putting. For me it was a tough season, but I had better momentum and rhythm through the second half so I’m excited for next year.”
Norwegian Celine Borge, Sweden’s Cajsa Persson and England’s Sian Evans shot three-under-par rounds and completed the top 10 places after 18 holes of the 90 hole qualifier.