Olivia Mehaffey fired a great round of 64 (-8) to hold a one-stroke lead at the end of the first day of the Amundi German Masters.
The Northern Irish player began her round on the back nine at Golf & Country Club Seddiner See and started with a birdie on the 10th before rolling in four on the trot from hole 13 through to 16.
Mehaffey dropped shots on 17 and 18 but soon bounced back with birdies on the first, fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth holes to sit at the top of the leaderboard on eight-under-par.
“It was fun,” said the 25-year-old. “I have got a new caddie on the bag and this was our first round. It was very enjoyable.
“I hit a lot of fairways and held some very nice putts which was good. I really like this golf course; it reminds me of home. It’s quite linksy, I think it’s a fun challenge. You can make the putts especially when you’ve got the wind in, but there are some holes downwind where you’re thinking it’s quite hard to stop it.”
Mehaffey took a break from life on Tour halfway through last season after needing to work on her mental health and heal following the death of her father Philip in December 2021.
The Arizona State alumna, who returned to competitive golf at the beginning of the 2023 season, has been seeing improvement in her game in recent weeks and added a new driver to the bag last week.
She explained: “It’s been a struggle for me, I’ve had my battles the last couple of years and I’ve got a really good team around me. It’s been really nice working with them, we have been battling to make less bogeys and make less doubles. It’s fun when you have a round like that.
“I felt like it’s been piecing together quite nicely, I have done a lot of work on the mental side. I have a great psychologist and a great coach and it’s really fun to add David my caddie into the mix as well.
“I actually changed my driver on Friday, I had been struggling off the tee, so it’s a new driver and it’s been much better. That had been the thing letting me down, so it’s nice to see that change is working nicely. I’ve been slowly getting a little bit of confidence and it was nice to go out there today. I felt like my old self again which was really nice.”
Indian amateur Avani Prashanth sits in second place on the leaderboard on seven-under-par after an opening round of 65.
Sweden’s Johanna Gustavsson and England’s Meghan MacLaren sit in a tie for third place on six-under-par after they both only dropped one shot during their rounds of 66.
Photo: Tristan Jones