Cloe Frankish and Billie-Jo Smith both carded six-under-par 66s to share the lead after the first round of the Rose Ladies Open at Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire.
Smith had a flawless card and got off to a hot start with a birdie on the first followed by an eagle on the fifth. Two birdies at the turn on holes 10 and 11 set Smith off to a strong back nine where she finished by nearly eagling the 18th and instead walked away with a fourth birdie. It’s been a tough year for the Lincolnshire based player who has split her time between the LET and the LET Access Series this year with her strongest finish being 37th at the LETAS Link Series at Ramside Hall.
Smith said: “To have a strong finish this week would mean quite a lot as I’ve had a tough year this year with various things and injuries. It would be nice to finish on a bit of a high and carry that forward to the end of the year.”
Frankish, from hart Hills in Kent, matched Smith’s scorecard as day one closed with a birdie on the par-five 18th to add to four gains she made on the front nine. Speaking about the round, Frankish said: “I’m really pleased My iron shots were good. I had family out there supporting me today so that helped. Coming into the 18th I saw Billie was on six-under and knew I had to match her. I’m so happy I did it.”
It’s a very red and white leaderboard further down as Nottingham-based amateur Esme Hamilton had the best round of the morning to finish on four-under-par. It was a faultless round for Hamilton who carded three birdies on her front nine and one on the back to finish in third position after day one.
All three player in the top three have been injured this season, with Frankish sustaining injuries to her foot in February, while Hamilton was out for a while after dislocating her thumb.
Australia’s Amy Walsh had the most colourful scorecard of the day. Starting on the 10th, she double bogeyed her first hole before following it up with three consecutive birdies and ending her front nine with an eagle. Walsh sits in tied fourth alongside third-ranked Order of Merit player Switzerland’s Elena Moosmann. Further down, 12 players, including three season winners, sit in a tie for sixth on one-under-par.
For all the latest scores from the Rose Ladies Open, click here.