Englishwoman Holly Clyburn, South African Ashleigh Simon and Italian Veronica Zorzi, all finished the first round of the LET Suzhou Ladies Open in China at -7 and are sharing the top of the leaderboard. All three players shot flawless rounds of 65 on tranquil day at the Suzhou Taihu International Golf Club where receptive greens welcomed their pure putts and kept scores low.
Zorzi, known as one of the best ball strikers on the LET, set the clubhouse lead after playing in mild and overcast early morning conditions. Clyburn and Simon, who played in the same group together later in sunshine, eventually joined her.
The 33-year-old Zorzi was pleased with her 1st round at the Suzhou.
Seven birdies, no bogeys: a very solid round. I hit 17 greens and 29 putts so happy with my game. Playing conditions were good and we had sunshine so it was better than yesterday. There was a little bit of wind, but not too strong, so the conditions were good.
Veronica Zori, Suzhou Taihu Ladies Open 1st Round Co-Leader
Clyburn and Simon played together in the afternoon. The sun came out and the winds picked up enough to keep the players thinking about their shots. Simon, former Catalonia and Portugal Open champ, said “Everything seemed on song . . . It was great the whole day. We fed off each other and when she made one I made one or vice versa.”
Clyburn is the leading rookie on the LET this season and bidding for her second title after winning the Deloitte Ladies Open in Holland in May. The 22-year old birdied the last two holes and credited her putting for her best round of the season.
My driver was not great but I just kept focused on it off the tee and kept my confidence high and tried as much as possible to get it out of my system. I got away with a lot and I just played well from fairway in really. I had 25 putts. It’s probably the best I’ve putted for a while and it gave me so much confidence.
Holly Clyburn, Suzhou Taihu Ladies Open 1st Round Co-Leader
Australian Nikki Garrett fired six birdies and carded a bogey-free 66 for the 1st round at the Suzhou Open. Garrett goes into the 2nd round trailing the leaders by 1 shot.
Defending champion Spaniard Carlota Ciganda, who finished seven strokes clear to win last year at the same venue, opened with a five under par 67 to sit alongside Thailand’s Patcharajutar Kongkrapan, Line Vedel of Denmark and promising Chinese amateur Jing Yan.
The greens were not quite so receptive for Charley Hull, who lost 2 shots to bogeys and carded a 1st round 70. Hull starts the 2nd round in a big crowd of players who are 2 shots under par, above the projected cut line but trailing the leaders by 5 strokes.