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31st July 2015 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Simon takes SA lead at Turnberry

2015SLTCLO_Ashleigh Simon2_SLTRicoh British Women’s Open qualifier Ashleigh Simon took full advantage of the uncharacteristically sunny Scottish skies to lead the South African pack in Thursday’s first round in Scotland.

The two-time Ladies European Tour winner collected five birdies and an eagle three at the par-five 14th to offset a fistful of drops and returned an even-par 72 to finish seven strokes behind pace setting Kim Hyo-Joo from South Korea at the Trump Turnberry Resort.

LPGA winner Lee-Anne Pace had three bogeys, two birdies and a double bogey at par-three sixth at the Ailsa Course and slept on a 10 stroke deficit.

Simon’s Wanna Be A Champion stable-mate Nicole Garcia and fellow South African Paula Reto carded rounds of 76 and 79 respectively.

Garcia mixed three bogeys and a hat-trick of birdies with double bogeys at the first and sixth, while Reto’s debut appearance was ruined by two holes.

The Bloemfontein golfer had a bogey at nine and birdie at 14, but an eight at par-four fifth and six at par-three six left her near the bottom of the leaderboard at the season’s fourth Major.

With wind and rain are forecast for the afternoon groups on Friday the South Africans, in particular Pace, Garcia and Reto, will have to make some early birdies to avoid the cut to 64 players and ties.

Kim’s flawless performance that included an eagle at the 449-yard (410 meter) par-five 14th, put her in the driver’s seat, but the 2014 Evian Championship winner has former world number one Lydia Ko and Major champion Christie Kerr in hot pursuit.

New Zealand’s Ko needed just 21 putts to open with a 66 to stake an early claim in the contest for the 39th Women’s British Open title, while Kerr from the United States matched Ko’s 66 to record her personal best opening round in the championship.

World number one Inbee Park opened with a 69 and Major champion Stacey Lewis finished a further shot adrift.

One of the highlights of the first round was a stunning albatross from Morgan Pressel at the 14th, but it was too little, too late for the American and couldn’t undo the damage of a pair of doubles and four bogeys.

FIRST ROUND SCORES (top 20)
65 Hyo Joo Kim KOR
66 Cristie Kerr USA, Lydia Ko NZL
67 So Yeon Ryu KOR, Kyu-Jung Baek KOR
68 Mika Miyazato JAP, Azahara Munoz ESP, Suzann Pettersen NOR, Shiho Oyama JAP, Teresa Lu TAI, Katie Burnett USA, Florentyna Parker ENG , Jin young Ko KOR
69 Misuzu Narita JAP, Beatriz Recari ESP, Amy Yang KOR, Inbee Park KOR, Minjee Lee AUS, Nicole Broch Larsen DEN, Anna Nordqvist SWE, Angela Stanford USA, Klara Spilkova CRO
72 Ashleigh Simon RSA
75 Lee-Anne Pace RSA
76 Nicole Garcia RSA
79 Paula Reto RSA

PHOTO – Ashleigh Simon; credit Matthew Withers – Action Pix/Lexar.

 

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and WPGA.