Germany’s Laura Fuenhstueck shot an opening 68 in tough, windy conditions, to lead the Viaplay Ladies Finnish Open by one shot from Sweden’s Emma Nilsson.
Fuenfstueck, a winner of the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s SA Women Masters in February this year, covered the opening nine in four under par. A birdie on the 10th took the German to five under. Bogeys on the 11th, 13th and 14th stalled her progress, but Fuenfstueck finished strongly with birdies on the 17th and 18th holes for a four under total.
Nilsson produced six birdies and three bogeys to sit in second place on her own at 3 under. Swede is occupying fourth place on this year’s order of merit, with her best finish a runner up placing at the season opening Terre Blanche Ladies Open in France.
The Messila course, about an hour from Helsinki, proved a robust test for the players with just five players breaking par on the first day. The top placed amateur is Finn Krista Junkkari, who recorded a solid two under par.
Defending champion Ursula Wikstrom produced a par round to sit in a tie for 7th place, alongside two of her fellow Finns, amateurs Elina Saksa and Emilia Tukianen, Englishwomen Dulcie Sverdloff and Hayley Davis, and French players Emma Grechi and Manon Molle.
Three players, Sweden’s Julia Engstrom, Francesca Cuturi of Italy and Spain’s Noemi Jimenez, are all tied for fourth at one under par.
Play will commence at 8.00 from both the 1st and 10th tees tomorrow morning, with lighter winds expected.