New Zealand’s Lydia Ko and Spain’s Carlota Ciganda are tied at the top at the end of the first day of the Aramco Saudi Ladies International.
After a delay to the first round because of the morning fog, play got underway one hour later than planned at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club.
And it was world number seven Ko, who began her round on the 10th tee, who took advantage of the morning conditions carding six birdies and one bogey for a round of 67 (-5) to post the best score.
“I didn’t drive it very well, but I think every time I did miss it, I wasn’t in that much trouble,” Ko said.
“It was a combination of being lucky when I didn’t hit it good. My irons were really good, so I had a lot of opportunities, and I holed a few good putts. Hopefully, I will sharpen up the tee shots tomorrow,” said the two-time Major winner.
“The course itself is really pure. The greens aren’t rolling that fast but it’s really pure and it’s not bumpy. The track itself is a good one because it has a good combination of holes.
“I’m pretty sure it will be pretty breezy tomorrow and it will make it a little bit cooler to be outside at least. I think I just have to be aggressive. Even though it is windy, I think there are some gettable holes, so just trust my game and see where that puts me.”
— Ladies European Tour (@LETgolf) November 4, 2021
From the afternoon groups, it was three-time Solheim Cup winner Ciganda who climbed to the top of the standings.
The four-time LET winner got off to a blistering start with six birdies and one bogey on her front nine to make the turn in 31.
With the wind picking up in her final nine holes, Ciganda dropped a shot on the 17th but bounced back immediately with a closing birdie on 18 to also finish on five-under-par.
“It started very well with two birdies in the first two holes, I bogeyed the third but then I hit some really good shots on five and six,” said the two-time LPGA Tour winner. “I played really solid and I’m really enjoying the course, I managed to shoot five-under on the front nine with six birdies – I can’t remember the last time I did that so that made me quite happy.
“The back nine was windier, but I managed to get a few birdie chances on 13, 14 and 15, then I managed to birdie the last which is always nice.
“I think in the afternoon it gets windy and you get some side winds that are tricky, but the more you play it the more you know what it’s going to do. I think if you play it in the morning it might be a bit easier with no wind, so I’m excited to go out tomorrow and try to post a good score.”
Three groups were unable to complete their first round due to the delay and will finish on Friday morning.