Ladies European Tour
May 20th, 2022
Alonso leads Jabra Ladies Open
Spaniard holds a one-stroke lead after round one
Photography: Tristan Jones/LET
Alonso, who is ranked 25th on the Race to Costa del Sol, started with a bogey on the par-5 15th hole but kept her composure to birdie the 16th, before making an eagle on the par-5 18th.
She posted further birdies on the third and seventh holes before carding a second bogey on the eighth and then made further gains at the 10th and 14th.
“This course is really challenging, so you have to focus all the time. If you miss a shot, you don’t have too many chances to recover, so I’m really happy with the round,” said Alonso, now in her 18th year on the LET.
She was helped by fellow LET professional Maria Beautell on caddie duties, the pair having achieved a tie for 13th in the Comunidad de Madrid Ladies Open a fortnight ago.
“This year, I’m hitting the ball the same as in previous years but Maria is helping me around the greens, especially with the breaks,” Alonso said. “She is always positive, telling me that I am always doing a good job, so I follow her rules and it’s working.”
The winner of this week’s tournament will earn a place in the US$6.5 million Amundi Evian Championship, the only Major in continental Europe, to be played in July at the same venue, and so there is fierce competition for the first prize.
Australian Whitney Hillier, who won the Team competition in last week’s Aramco Team Series – Bangkok, started her round with three straight birdies from the 15th to the 17th and signed for a four-under-par 67 to lie in second place alongside LET Rookie Gabrielle Macdonald from Scotland.
Hillier said: “It was a pretty hot start, to be honest. I took advantage of the pure greens and just had fun out there. The course is in great condition and the weather is very nice, so I’m enjoying myself.
“I’ve been here five or six times now but I’ve never played in the major championship, so that’s a huge goal for me. I’m just buzzing. It’s a good time to be out on tour really and I’m just enjoying it.”
Also in a tie for second, Macdonald won twice on the LET Access Series last year, including at the Lavaux Ladies Open, played across the lake in Switzerland.
“I’ve been to this area before and the views are amazing, so it’s a nice place to be,” she said. “I’m really happy. I got off to a good start. I hit a few shots that didn’t work out but a few things went my way. I holed out from the bunker on the first after not such a good shot. A couple of putts dropped at the finish, so I’m delighted.”
Johanna Gustavsson, Karolin Lampert, Carolin Kauffmann, Billie-Jo Smith and Leonie Harm are a stroke further back in a tie for fourth on three-under-par 68.
Gustavsson, who has recorded three second-place finishes already this season, commented: “I played quite solid. I hit some tee shots well and feel like I could have holed some more putts, but overall it was a nice, stress-free day.”
A win on Saturday would be a double cause for celebration for the Swede, as she will be going home to get married next weekend.