Thursday, March 01, 2018



French rookie Manon Mollé and Silvia Bañon from Spain fired course record five-under par 66s in the first round of the Women’s New South Wales Open on Thursday to share the lead at Coffs Harbour Golf Club.
The pair hold a one-shot lead over another Frenchwoman, Justine Dreher, while a trio of golfers including Camilla Lennarth from Sweden, Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras of Thailand and US-based Queenslander Emily McLennan are in a tie for fourth on three-under-par.
Mollé carded six birdies and only one bogey as she posted her course record in warm morning conditions that were ideal for scoring, while Banon kept her scorecard bogey-free in an effort that included 15 greens in regulation and only 28 putts for her round.
“I’m very happy with that round,” said Mollé. “I started with a bogey and made a lot of birdies at the end which helped me.”
Bañon was ecstatic with her course record effort in the testing afternoon winds and said: “It’s my best round ever on the Ladies European Tour. I hit of a lot of greens today, and when I missed, I made some good up and downs. I’m relaxed, and I’m enjoying this course.”
Dreher was also happy with her four under par first round, just a shot shy of the leaders. She was thrilled to see her friend Manon’s name on top of the leaderboard and said that any one of the French women playing this week could win.
“I think the French players, we have a really good group, and we push each other. The fact that Céline (Boutier) won last week showed us that any one of us could do it. It is really nice to share a victory with one of your friends when they win, so pushing each other on I think it the key. Watch out for the French,” she said.
McLennan, who is in her second year on the ALPG Tour after graduating from the University of Tennessee, was pleasantly surprised with her opening three-under-par round.
“I didn’t hit my irons too well today, but I holed a lot of great putts. I made some good saves, and a made a bunch of good birdies out there. I just tried to play solid golf all day,” McLennan smiled.
Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras followed up last week’s impressive result at Bonville with a solid opening three under par 68. the Young Thai was happy with her game and said the warm weather and condition of the course felt a lot like playing back in Thailand.
“I hit a lot of greens today and made some good putts. This weather and the course is very similar to Thailand,” Pannarat said.
Camilla Lennarth, too, was satisfied with her round of 68 considering the warm conditions.  The Swede said it was far more preferable playing in the Coffs Harbour heat than having to endure the current cold snap back at home.
“I like this a lot more than I like the snow,” Lennarth grinned while looking up to the sky.
“This weather is so much better, I’ll take this any time!”
New South Welshwoman Sarah Kemp and Olivia Cowan from Germany are a stroke back on two-under-par.
There are seven further players tied for ninth on one-under-par and 15 sub-par rounds on the first day. 

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