Jeongeun Lee6 and Perrine Delacour each highlighted their performances on the greens as key factors as they earned a share of the early clubhouse lead in the 2023 AIG Women’s Open.
Lee6 (above) and Delacour put together three-under rounds of 69 at Walton Heath on Thursday, a score matched by Emily Kristine Pedersen, Jaravee Boonchant and Amy Yang.
Walton Heath offered a stern test in round one, with the numerous patches of heather – a hazard that proved a significant talking point in the lead-up to the Championship – proving particularly penal.
Lee6 therefore prioritised staying out of trouble, before relying on her flat stick to fire from the heart of the putting surfaces.
"I think the tee shots were a little bit challenging because [there is] a lot of rough and heather," said the South Korean, whose caddie is David Buhai, the husband of defending AIG Women’s Open Champion Ashleigh Buhai.
"They are very tricky to play from, so I focus on just hitting the fairway.
“I didn't play aggressively, just hit the middle [of the greens] and just make putts, like that.
“On the back nine, I focused just on putting speed and I made a few putts. I'm really happy with the back nine.”
Delacour was also thrilled with her putting, which proved clinical during a run of five birdies in seven holes at the end of her round.
The Frenchwoman was two-over through 11 holes, but then picked up shots at the 12th, 14th, 16th, 17th and 18th.
“I'm seeing pretty good the putts, and then my caddie helps me a lot," said Delacour. "So we are kind of a pretty good team together.
“My putting was definitely working pretty good.”
Delacour was also unwilling to take too many risks, especially after finding the heather on the second hole and making bogey as a result.
“When you're in the heather, you are just trying to get back in the fairway and just see. If you can make par, good. And if not, you just take your bogey and you get away,” she explained.
“You don't want to take much risk on it. Especially for me, I had a wrist surgery a couple years ago, so I don't want to risk anything.”