Ireland’s Marina Joyce-Moreno is just one shot off the pace after an opening 72 at the Flogas Irish Women’s and Girls Amateur Open Championship at Co. Louth Golf Club.
Australia’s Abbie Teasdale leads Joyce-Moreno by the minimum after she carded a three-under 71 and the Aussie soared to the top after playing her last ten holes in three-under par following birdies at the ninth, tenth and eighteenth.
Spanish-based player Joyce Moreno is in second place on two-under. She held the lead for much of the afternoon but a bogey on the 16th saw her relinquish her grip on proceedings before she moved to within one of Teasdale with a closing birdie.
The Club De Golf Llavaneras golfer bogeyed her opening hole but catapulted herself to the summit with a hat trick of birdies before the turn to move to -2.
Joyce Moreno was steady on the back nine and she was pleased to continue her fine form this season having played a starring role in Ireland’s Quadrangular series win in Wales and securing a top-10 in the R&A U16 Amateur last month.
“This the 6th tournament I’ve played this year and I’ve been playing well so I was confident today”, she explained. “I played with Kate [Dillon] and Olivia [Costello]. We had a really great time because two weeks ago we played in a tournament together for Ireland so playing together again was really fun.
“I started with a bogey but then I had a row of pars and made a really nice birdie on the 7th to start three-in-a-row so that motivated me going into the back 9.”
For a long time, it looked as if Scotland’s Lorna McClymont was going to be the outright leader after she defied the brunt of the elements to become the first player to go under-par with a one-under 73.
The 2022 R&A Student Tour Series winner was the leader in the clubhouse for quite some time before she was joined by Sweden’s Ida Lindqvist as the morning wave completed their rounds.
The afternoon starters were treated to some milder conditions with a hint of Baltray sunshine.
Also in the hunt is last year’s joint runner-up Moa Svedenskiold after a level-par 74 that included sixteen pars. After the Swede birdied the second hole she gave the shot back on the par-3 5th before carding thirteen successive pars.
Svedenskiold is a shot shy of compatriot Lindqvist and she is content with her start but wants to see more red numbers over the weekend if she is to go one better this time around.
“It was a very boring scorecard,” she said. “I feel like it could have been a lot more up and down but I feel very happy with my score with the conditions and I’m looking forward to playing tomorrow.
“I think there could be lower scores out there over the weekend and it would be nice to compete with the top of the leaderboard over the weekend.”
The Scandinavian has a grá for the east coast of Ireland in particular Co. Louth Golf Club and she feels very comfortable in the conditions.
“It’s a very nice, calm place to play golf. It’s a very unique place, you feel very welcome when you come to this clubhouse. No matter where you come from you are welcome to play here. I love this place.
“We have some courses at home that are quite similar but my type of game fits this type of course. I am very comfortable with the wind and conditions.”
It’s a very international leaderboard overall with England’s Millie Thompson and Frenchwoman Juliette Demeaux also on level-par while Finnish player Anastasia Hekkonen, English pair Claudia Hastings and Amelia Wan and Welsh golfer Gracie Mayo round off the top-10 on one-over
Four birdies in her last five holes kept Roscommon’s Olivia Costello in the hunt on two-over. The thirteen-year-old was seven-over after eight holes but played her last ten holes in five-under to join local favourite Emily Murray, Ellen O’Gorman of Milltown, Ballykisteen’s Caitlin Shippam and Knock’s Katie Poots in thirteenth.
Tramore’s Anna Dawson, Ballybunion’s Emma O’Driscoll, Elm Park’s Kate Fleming and Rebekah Gardner of Clandeboye are on three-over and just six adrift.
The top-50 and ties will make the cut after Saturday’s second-round and better scoring is expected with the weather set to improve.