Eun Jung Ji Kim Photo Credit: Aníbal González Pinto
Sweden’s Johanna Gustavsson and Eun Jung Ji Kim of Spain, recorded opening rounds of 64, 6 under par, to lead the Ribeira Sacra Patrimonio de la Humanidad International Ladies Open at Augas Santas Balneario & Golf Resort in Panton, Spain.
Gustavsson finished her round strongly, playing her final nine holes in 30 shots and scoring four birdies in a row at the end of her round. The Swede feels the key to a good score on the tricky, intricate course is to drive it well and that was the key to her round today.
“It was a very solid round I must say. I didn’t make any bogeys, which was fun. Then I had a very good finish, I finished with four birdies in a row on my four last holes, which was nice. But nice putting and I had some close ones, short putt on the last here but other than that I haven’t been that close to the pin, so I putted good and I’ve been on the fairway the whole time, which has helped."”
Gustavsson has her boyfriend, Alex Wrigley, here with her this week, but his role has changed from caddy to coach for this season and the change means he now follows Gustavsson from the sidelines.
“Before he hasn’t been my coach but now he is and in the past sometimes it hurt more than it’s helped because I feel like I doubt my decision a bit more because he’s there. Like I’m asking do you think it’s this club? When I’m on my own I trust myself more. It’s really good now, he’s trying to stay a bit hidden in the trees.”
Ji Kim produced ten birdies in her round, which also included a double bogey on the par three 12th hole and bogeys on the 2nd and 15th. The 19-year-old from Seoul, who now resides in Las Palmas, credited her putting for her low round and felt the experience of playing in this event last year had helped her to feel more comfortable on the course.
“I think there was everything in my round today. I didn’t start well playing from tee to green so I just tried to go with it and play but I was making really good pars. My putting was amazing today and when I know my putting is working I can play with a lot of confidence, so I think that during the round my long game was improving a lot, so in the last holes I was hitting really good shots and making the putts.”
“Definitely I feel more comfortable playing this year because I kind of know better the course. The conditions are different but it’s different when you know the course. And also I have really good memories and experience from last year so I’m playing with confidence.”
Three players, England’s Gabrielle Cowley, Noemi Jimenez of Spain and Finland’s Sanna Nuutinen, all shot 66’s, four under par and a tie for 3rd position going into the second round.