Gardner content with opening 77 despite tough finish at Baltray

Ronan MacNamara

Rebekah Gardner (Photo by Charles McQuillan Getty Images)

Clandeboye’s Rebekah Gardner is happy with how she played despite opening her Flogas Irish Women’s & Girls Amateur Open Championship with a topsy-turvy three-over 77.

One of the early starters, a damp and dreary morning greeted Gardner at Baltray but she battled hard to keep herself in contention.

In an eventful opening round, Gardner traded seven bogeys with four birdies on day one to leave her four shots shy of clubhouse leader Lorna McClymont at the time of writing.

The former Northern Irish underage footballer dropped three shots in her first five holes but recovered the damage to turn in 38.

Gardner was under-par after a birdie on the eleventh but four successive bogeys from the 14th to the 17th saw her slip into a share of 34th place, though she will surely move further up the leaderboard given the difficulty of the conditions.

“It was tough out there today,” she said. “The wind and the rain made it pretty difficult, got off to a dodgy start to be honest but managed to get a few pars going and a few birdies around the turn.

“I kind of had a bad finish but I am in a good place and looking forward to tomorrow.

“I’ve done my bit so I just have to wait and see what happens and then go out and do the same again.”

Gardner recovered from her poor start with birdies on the sixth, seventh and ninth to turn in level-par before her fourth birdie in six holes on eleven saw her move into the red.

The closing stretch has proven difficult on day one with three of the seven hardest holes coming before the clubhouse. Gardner fell foul to the finish with four bogeys in a row but she wasn’t too disappointed, knowing the difficulty of the holes.

“I had a bad start but I didn’t really panic and I knew there were a lot of birdie chances there around the ninth and eleventh where I managed to keep it in play and hole a few putts,” she said.

“If you get past twelve, thirteen is a tough hole, fourteen is especially today into the wind and probably one of the hardest greens to hit on the course, and fifteen is another difficult hole.”

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