Swaziland’s Nobuhle Dlamini and Scotland’s Kelsey MacDonald fired opening rounds of four-under-par 68 to share the lead after the first day at the Estrella Damm Ladies Open presented by Catalunya at Glub de Golf Terramar in Sitges, Spain.
Dlamini, 29, set the early pace with three birdies in a row on the newly redesigned second, third and fourth holes. She sank a three-foot putt on the uphill eighth hole for another birdie and made the turn in four-under-par 33.
As the wind picked up, she made another two birdies, along with two bogeys on the back nine, coming home in level par 35.
“I had quite a solid round and hit the ball well. The putts rolled in today and I hit a couple more fairways than usual,” said Dlamini, whose career low round on the LET was a 67 in the Sberbank Golf Masters in Pilsen seven years ago.
“The wind got a bit tricky on the back nine because the direction of the wind changed and it was a bit confusing and difficult to judge which clubs to take, but I think I managed it well.
“I really love this golf course. There are some pretty holes and it suits my eye as well. I really like it. The new holes (from one to six) are good. They aren’t quite ready, but they are going to be very good. It’s such a pretty design. The first hole is a challenging hole. You’ve got to hit a good tee shot and if you are on, the putt is makeable. The second hole is a really nice one, with a nice green, so I think they have made some tremendous changes here; it’s really good.”
Dlamini has just enjoyed a week at home in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she spent time with her golf coach, Llewelyn Van Leewan, which she said offered a welcome rest from a demanding schedule.
“As a pro on the LET, I’ve been so blessed to be able to play so many events this year. There were quite a lot and the tour has done a lot of good work. I’m happy that I got to play in so many events this year and we hope to get more,” she said.
Behind her, Stacy Lee Bregman opened with a one-under to share 13th. Lee-Anne Pace was one-over in 46th, Casandra Hall was on three-over in 67th, Nicole Garcia was on six-over in 97th and Lejan Lewthwaite was on seven-over in 110th.