New South Wales’ Nikki Garrett has made a great start in the Helsingborg Open being played on the Tournament Course at Vasatorp Golf Club in Sweden.
Garrett, fired a four-under-par 68 to be three adrift of the Rolex World No. 10 I.K Kim, who made the early running in the Helsingborg Open.
Garrett started her first round on the 10th tee and didn’t have an ideal start, when she doubled the par 5. The Shelly Beach player proceeded to bogey the 16th before posting her first birdie on the par 3 17th to go out in two-over-par 38. Garrett fired up on the front nine, birding the first four holes, another two birdies followed on the sixth and ninth holes to come home in a flawless six-under-par 30.
Kim was paired in the opening group with Solheim Cup stars Caroline Hedwall and Anna Nordqvist, the 25-year-old from Seoul carded a bogey-free seven-under-par 65.
She fired five birdies in a row from the fourth to make the turn in 31 and then picked up two further shots on holes 13th and 17th.
“Sweden is one of the countries that I really admire and I have some great friends from here so I wanted to visit,” said the four-time tournament champion, who earned her last victory at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in 2010. “I’m pleased with how I played. There are a few long and challenging holes but I played well on the par fives and had some good up and downs.”
Kim ended the day a stroke ahead of Sweden’s own Pernilla Lindberg, who has a flawless 66 in windier conditions in the afternoon.
There are nine players a further two strokes back on four-under-par, including Garrett. They are Swedes Maria Hjorth and Camilla Lennarth, Frenchwomen Gwladys Nocera, Jade Schaeffer and Valentine Derrey, Thailand’s Nontaya Srisawang, Klara Spilkova from the Czech Republic and England’s Liz Young, who played in the afternoon, along with Derrey.
Another seven players including fellow Australian Rebecca Artis are a further shot back at three-under and share 12th position.
Sarah Kemp and Stephanie Na are tied for 19th at two-under-par. Nikki Campbell and Bree Arthur signed for even par rounds and share 35th place.
The cut will be made after 36 holes to the leading 60 professionals and those tied. At present the projected cut is sitting at one-over-par, West Australian Whitney Hillier is right on the number. Victorians Alison Whitaker (76) and Stacey Keating (78) and New Zealand’s Cathryn Bristow (76) have some work to do.