New South Wales’ Rebecca Artis shares 12th place after the opening round of the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open.
Artis leads the Australian contingent. She carded an even par round of 72, which included three birdies and three bogeys, and is only four back off the lead held by France’s Cassandra Kirkland.
Kirkland holds a slender one shot lead over three players, England’s Trish Johnson, South African Lee-Anne Pace and fellow compatriot Anne-Lise Caudal.
The 28-year-old from Paris had four birdies in a morning-round on the Fidra Course at Archerfield Links in Dirleton, East Lothian. She birdied the first, 11th, 13th and 14th in sunny conditions, before the skies clouded over and winds picked up for the afternoon.
“I’m hitting really well so I’m very confident with my long game and I made a couple of putts,” said Kirkland, who won her lone tour title at the Sanya Ladies Open in China in October.
She has a strong record in Scotland, with a tie for 10th in 2012 and equal 14th place in 2011. “This is my fourth time here and I’ve had two holes in one on this golf course so every time I go on a par three it’s kind of nice,” she said.
Caudal, Pace and Johnson all played later, in a wind requiring three clubs extra. At three-under 69, they must all fancy their chances. Pace, the European Order of Merit leader, has two wins this year, in Turkey and Spain. She eagled the second and recorded three additional birdies in her round.
English rookie professional Emily Taylor, Klara Spilkova of the Czech Republic and Scotland’s Heather MacRae, who won the Solvesborg Open in Sweden on the LET Access Series in May, were all two strokes off the lead on 70.
Nikki Garrett and Stephanie Na are the next best placed Australians in the limited field event. They are both at one-over-par and tied for 19th. Victorian Stacey Keating is a further two shots back and tied for 40th. The cut is going to be to the top 50 and ties at the conclusion of round two.
Bree Arthur is currently tied for 58th at six-over, while Alison Whitaker is a further shot adrift and tied for 63rd. Nikki Campbell is the final Australian in the field and will have to go low to make it through to Sunday. Campbell s in 67th position at nine-over.