24th November 2016 | Sunshine Ladies Tour
Garcia makes fast start in Qatar
South Africaâ€™s Nicole Garcia pulled within two shots of Lydia Hall from Wales and Finlandâ€™s Noora Tamminen, who set the first round target in the Qatar Ladies Open at five under with a pair of flawless 67s in Wednesday.
Kylie Walker from Scotland and Anna Nordqvist from Sweden finished a stroke further back, while Garcia secured a share of fifth with nine players by posting a three-under-par 69.
The Ebotse golfer made the most of the great weather conditions to reel in five birdies on the way home.
â€œI started off a little rough with three-putt bogeys at the first and the ninth and turned two over,â€ said Garcia. â€œI made back-to-back birdies at 10 and 11 and picked up two more at 14 and 15.
â€œI gave a shot back to the field when I didnâ€™t birdie the very driveable par four 16th, but I birdied 18, which is a lay-up par five. I struck the ball really well and the course suits my game.
â€œI donâ€™t do well with grain, so the putting was a little erratic, but hopefully Iâ€™ll get my eye in as the tournament progresses.â€
Fellow Sunshine Ladies Tour campaigner and two-time Ladies European Tour winner Ashleigh Simon grabbed a share of 15 with a 70, while former Spanish Open champion Connie Chen eagled the 10th and aced the par five 13th on her way to a 71 that was good enough for a share of 22nd.
Compatriot Stacy Bregman finished a little lower down the leaderboard in joint 52nd after carding a 73 and amateur Madeleen Grosskopf returned an 88.
Meanwhile Hall and Tamminen, who were both waylaid with injuries last year, clearly enjoyed being back to form.
â€œIt was really solid out there today. I only missed one green and got my putter going throughout the middle part of the round, so Iâ€™m playing well,â€ Hall said. â€œIâ€™ve been playing well all year really, after the knee injury last year. I came back with a fresh set of eyes. Iâ€™ve been focusing on playing rather than on technical things.â€
Tamminen, who represented Finland in the Olympic Games in August, is targeting a maiden victory.
â€œI felt really confident and calm this morning,â€ she said. â€œMy long game was super good and I hit all the greens. I had some bad drives but they werenâ€™t that bad, so it was a steady round. I just want to enjoy the game and have no pressure. I really like playing in the Middle East. Everything is well organised and I love that we have Abu Dhabi and this one. I really like the course and that you have to be good from the tee.â€
PHOTO â€“ Nicole Garcia; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.