Natalia Escuriola took another step towards booking her place on the Ladies European Tour in the first round of the WPGA International Challenge at Stoke by Nayland Hotel Golf & Spa.
The Spaniard ended it sharing the lead with Iceland’s Olafia Kristinsdottir after negotiating the Gainsborough course at the Suffolk resort in four-under-par.
The tournament is the 15th and last in this season’s LET Access Series and carries a €4,800 first prize.
Of more importance to Escuriola, however, is sealing the deal when it comes to securing a coveted Ladies European tour card.
Five of them are up for grabs in the LET Access Series and Escuriola, who lies third in the Order of Merit, is well-placed to justify her decision to turn pro just a week ago.
Furthermore, there was no sign of an 11th hour wobble from the 21-year-old as she embarked on the final hurdle in pursuit of her ambition.
A flawless round featured an eagle at the par five fourth after she landed her approach just three feet from the pin.
She also posted two birdies but felt there could have been more and said: “I had a lot of opportunities to birdie but did not make all my putts today.”
Kristinsdottir, meanwhile, made an inauspicious start to her round with a bogey at the second but more than made amends with five birdies to end the day level with Escuriola and a stroke clear of a trio on three-under-par.
The threesome includes Charlotte Ellis, who is attached to Minchinhampton Golf Club and heads the home contingent in the field, Germany’s Olivia Cowan and Oona Vartiainen of Finland.
Cowan, the daughter of PGA Professional based in Germany, leads the Order of Merit and has already secured her Tour card.
And, as well as emulating Escuriola by recording an eagle at the fourth, she was fulsome in her praise of the course.
“The greens were in really good condition as was the course,” she said. “And it was great to play in the sunshine.”