England’s Meghan MacLaren and French amateur Pauline Roussin-Bouchard hold a one-shot lead after the first round of the Jabra Ladies Open, played in beautiful, warm and sunny conditions at Evian Resort Golf Club.
The pair fired matching three-under-par 68s in the dual ranking event between the Ladies European Tour and its developmental tour, the LET Access Series. The tournament doubles as a qualifier for the Evian Championship, with two spots available for the fourth women’s major of the 2019 season.
It was a real statement of intent from MacLaren, who has already qualified for a second appearance in The Evian courtesy of her victory in the Women’s New South Wales Open.
The 25-year-old from Rushden, Northants, who has two titles on each of the LET and the LET Access Series, said: “I’m pretty happy because I didn’t start that well so to come back strongly and be at the top of the leader board is pleasing.
“The set-up is longer than it has been in the past for this event, which makes it similar to the championship and that tests us a lot more. It’s nice to play it like this.
“I’m trying to get back to the mindset I was in earlier this year when I was taking things as they came and just figuring out my game piece by piece. I think the last few weeks I’ve been putting a bit more pressure on myself and so this week I’m just relaxing and enjoying it and my golf seems to have improved because of that.”
Roussin-Bouchard’s local knowledge helped her to lay down a marker for the field. The 18-year-old from Toulon, who is the number one French amateur, said: “I know this golf course quite well because I played it quite a lot when I was younger and I played in the Haribo Kids Cup when I was 10, 11 and 12. I also played in the Evian Junior Championship in 2014 and I’m a member here.
“I’d like to qualify for The Evian Championship. I’ve watched it since I was four or five and it has always been a dream, to play in the Evian Championship, so I hope I’ll do it.”
Belgian Manon De Roey, English duo Felicity Johnson and Annabel Dimmock, Norwegian Marita Engzelius and Swede Filippa Moork are one stroke back in a tie for third on two-under-par, while the defending champion Astrid Vayson de Pradenne from France sits in a four-way share of eighth on one-under alongside Scotland’s Michele Thomson and French pair Charlotte Liautier and Emma Grechi.
European Solheim Cup player Florentyna Parker made the best possible start to her morning round when she made a hole-in-one using a 5-iron at the 183-yard eighth hole, registering her third ace on the LET in competition and her fourth in total. She previously made aces at the Women’s British Open, the Suzhou Taihu Ladies Open and in a practise round for the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco.
A few hours later, Sarah Nilsson made her first ever hole-in-one at the 16th using a 7 iron from 156 yards/142 metres. What are the chances of having two aces in one day? The last time this happened on the Ladies European Tour was during the final round of the 2016 Ladies European Masters.