Photograph courtesy of Tristan Jones/LET
A Frenchwoman and a Spaniard sit on top of the leaderboard after day one of the Women’s NSW Open at Coffs Harbour Golf Club, after both shooting a course record five under par 66.
Manon Molle of France and Sylvia Banon of Spain hold a one-shot lead over another Frenchwoman, Justine Dreher, while a trio of golfers including Queensland’s Emily McLennan, Camilla Lennarth of Sweden, and Thailand’s Thannarat Thanapolboonyaras are in a tie for fourth at three under par.
Molle carded six birdies and only one bogey as she posted her course record in warm morning conditions that were ideal for scoring, while Banon kept her scorecard bogey-free in an effort that included 15 greens in regulation and only 28 putts for her round.
“I’m very happy with that round,” Molle said. “I started with a bogey and made a lot of birdies at the end which helped me.”
Banon was ecstatic with her course record effort in the testing afternoon winds. “It’s my best round ever on the Ladies European Tour. I hit a lot of greens today, and when I missed, I made some good up and downs. I’m relaxed, and I’m really enjoying this course,” Banon smiled.
France's Justine Dreher was also happy with her four under par first round, just a shot shy of the leaders. She was also thrilled to see her friend Molle's name on top of the leaderboard and said that any one of the French women playing this week could win.
“I think the French players, we have a really good group, and we push each other. The fact that Céline (Boutier) won last week showed us that any one of us could do it. It is really nice to share a victory with one of your friends when they win, so pushing each other on I think it the key. Watch out for the French,” She smiled.
Tied for fourth are Sweden’s Carmilla Lennarth, Thailand’s Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras and Queensland’s Emily McLennan.
McLennan, who is in her second year on the ALPG Tour after graduating from the University of Tennessee, was pleasantly surprised with her opening three under par round. “I haven’t had to do this for a while,” She smiled when asked to front the media post-round. I didn’t hit my irons too well today, but I holed a lot of great putts. I made some good saves, and a made a bunch of good birdies out there. I just tried to play solid golf all day,” McLennan smiled.
The Queenslander is hoping her putter will stay hot as the tournament progresses. “Hopefully the putter will stay working, and I can hit a few more good iron shots,” Mc Lennan smiled.
Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras followed up last week’s 11th place finish at Bonville with a solid opening three under par 68. the Young Thai was happy with her game and said the warm weather and condition of the course felt a lot like playing back in Thailand “I hit a lot of greens today and made some good putts. This weather and the course is very similar to Thailand,” Pannarat said.
Camilla Lennarth, too, was satisfied with her round of 68 considering the warm conditions. The Swede said it was far more preferable playing in the Coffs Harbour heat than having to endure the current cold snap back at home. “I like this a lot more than I like the snow,” Lennarth grinned while looking up to the sky. This weather is so much better, I’ll take this anytime!”
Sarah Kemp is also in contention after shooting a solid 2 under par round and was enjoying playing so close to home "I have my car here this week and that hardly ever happens on tour so I know I am close to home" The longtime Forster resident was happy with her round especially her putter which she just needed 25 times in the opening round. "
Round 2 will get underway tomorrow morning at Coffs Harbour Golf Club from 7:00 am, entry is free for spectators.
FAST FACTS: Women’s NSW Open Golf Championship
Tournament website: www.womensnswopen.com.au
Host Venue: Coffs Harbour Golf Club
Date: 1-4 March, 2018
Format: 72-hole Stroke Play Championship
Field Size: 144 Players
Total Prize Pool: AUD $150,000
2006: Joanne Mills
2008: Dame Laura Davies (ENG)
2009-2010: Sarah Oh (NSW)
2011: Caroline Hedwall (SWE)
2012: Lydia Ko (am) (NZL)
2013: Caroline Hedwall (SWE)
2014: Joanna Klatten (FRA)
2015: Holly Clyburn (ENG)
The Women’s NSW Open is supported by the NSW Government via its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.
Round 2 draw and Live Scoring can be found HERE
Keep track of news and stories on our website alpg.com.au
Facebook page “Australian Ladies Professional Golf Official”
Twitter page @ALPGTour
Youtube channel “GameOnALPG”