Rachel Goodall hit a stunning hole-in-one as she claimed the joint lead at the WPGA International Challenge alongside Italy’s Lucrezia Colombotto Rosso. The pair ended the day with a five-under 67 to hold a one-shot lead over Wales’ Lydia Hall in third.
England’s Goodall made a breath-taking start to the tournament despite gusty winds at the Stoke by Nayland course. The 28-year-old hit consecutive birdies at holes five, six and seven before an incredible ‘hole-in-one’ at the 176-yard ninth to reach the midway point already on -5.
“I was in-between a four and a five iron so I hit a grip-down four. It started off perfect and pitched just short and ran all the way up and in! The wind was off the right so started it right of the green and it took it all the way back, it was cool!”
Goodall backed up a stellar opening run with steady golf on the back nine. A further birdie at the par-5 fourteenth was offset by a late dropped shot on the long par-3 eighteenth which would have seen the home player claim the outright tournament lead.
The Wallasey resident was aggressive from the tee throughout, despite the windy conditions at the Suffolk event, and reaped the benefits with consistent prime position on the fairways throughout the eighteen holes.
“I think I only missed one fairway and maybe two or three greens, so I wasn’t in any trouble. I was very steady, holed a few putts and the hole in one helps!
I drove the ball really, really good. The one fairway I missed was by a yard as well so I was always in the right places. I tried to be really aggressive; I hit a driver on every par-4. And because it’s quite bouncy we had short irons in so could be quite aggressive.”
Goodall already has a victory on the LET Access Series this year, claiming the title at the Ribeira Sacra Patrimonio de la Humanidad International Ladies Open. The Englishwoman remains in a strong position in the Road to La Largue standings and looks to be hitting form at the crucial time as the end of the season approaches.
Runner-up to Goodall at Ribeira Sacra in July was Italian Colombotto Rosso. The 23-year-old will hope that the WPGA International Challenge will not see a repeat after the Monaco resident finished the opening round level with her English counterpart on -5. Colombotto Rosso recorded six birdies in her round, four coming on the front nine, to post an impressive 67 in the tough conditions.
As well as a second place finish a Ribeira Sacra, the Italian has four further top 10 finished in this year’s LET Access Series and also holds a strong position in the Road to La Largue standings and looks sure to be in contention for the season’s biggest prize at the French course in October.
The leading duo will be aware that there is all to play for on the second day at the Stoke by Nayland resort with the likes of Laura Gomez Ruiz and Annelie Sjoholm, both of whom have secured victories on the tour this year, within touching distance of the lead.
With conditions expected to be calmer for Friday’s round the players will know there is a great opportunity to record a low score at the Suffolk course, and the chance to move firmly into contention for the WPGA International Challenge crown ahead of Saturday’s critical final round.