Ladies European Tour rookie Rhian Wyn Thomas from Aberystwyth in Wales finished a stroke clear of the field to lead after the first round of the Terre Blanche Ladies Open.
The 22-year-old fired a one over par 73 in windy conditions at Terre Blanche near Nice in the south of France in the first event on the 2010 LET Access Series, also known as LETAS.
Thomas, who has a conditional card on the LET this year, was out in two over 38 after a birdie, a bogey and a double bogey over the opening nine holes. However she was back in one under 35 with one bogey and two birdies over the back nine.
Thomas made her debut on the LET at the recent Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco where she tied for 28th position and has been working on her short game and putting ahead of the first LETAS event.
After making the cut in Morocco, she said: “Definitely the pros I played with, their short game and putting was better than mine so I’ll go back and work on that. Hopefully at the next tournament I’ll be better again.
“I’m not sure what my next tournament is as I have a conditional card but I’ve got the Access Series in a couple of weeks so that will be a good tournament to play in. Hopefully I’ll get in a few LET events and play all of the Access Series so it should be a good year.”
Jade Schaeffer from France, who earned her maiden LET title at the HypoVereinsbank Ladies German Open, presented by Audi, in Munich almost 12 months ago, finished a stroke back in second with Italy’s Sophie Sandolo, who has recently returned to action after a series of back injuries.
Frenchwoman Camille Fallay and Spain’s Ana Larraneta finished the day in a share of fourth position at three over par, with French rookie Julie Maisongrosse and her compatriot Caroline Afonso a stroke behind in a share of sixth.
A further six players tied for eighth place on five over par. They were Sahra Hassan of Wales, Denmark’s Amanda Moltke-Leth, England’s Holly Aitchison, Lien Willems of Belgium, Cassandra Kirkland and amateur Mathilde Cassaignau, both from France.