Reto opens with level-par 72 in AIG Women’s Open

Paula Reto, who only qualified for the AIG Women’s Open on Monday, led the three South Africans home in the first round of the year’s final major championship as she carded a level-par 72 at Carnoustie on Thursday.

She made two birdies and two bogeys as she finished the day in a share of 41st, five shots behind the lead which was shared by world number one Nelly Korda of the United States, Swede Madelene Sagstrom and Sei Young Kim of South Korea.

There were four players on four-under in a share of fourth: American Andrea Lee, Georgia Hall of England, Yuka Saso of the Philippines and Scottish amateur Louise Duncan.

The other two South Africans in the field are Ashleigh Buhai and Lee-Anne Pace, who each carded one-over 73 in the opening round.

Korda, the newly-crowned Olympic champion, arrived in Scotland hoping to win her second major of the year following her success at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in June.

She did not have it all her own way and recorded three bogeys but bounced back with a birdie on each occasion, showing an ability to quickly move on from disappointment which the American feels is essential when negotiating Carnoustie’s unique challenges.

“I played well,” she said. “I took advantage of the calmer day and I’m happy with the score I have. I could take advantage of calmer conditions and be more aggressive. It’s good to have a caddy that keeps it positive out there and reminds you there is plenty of golf yet.

“You have to enjoy it here. You never know what kind of weather you’ll get; a good shot will take a massive bounce into the bunker; you’re going to get a fried egg like I did on one of the holes. You have to laugh it off. Everyone will go through it at some point this week and a good positive attitude will take you a long way.”

Reto will hope to build on her solid start. She shares 41st with, amongst others, the defending champion Sophia Popov of Germany.

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