Ladies European Tour
May 29th, 2021
Malchirand and Givens lead Ladies Italian Open
French amateur sets the pace at Golf Club Margara
Photography: Tristan Jones/LET
Malchirand set the early pace posting a six-under-par 66 to take the clubhouse lead while two birdies on the final two holes ensured Givens matched the Frenchwoman.
With seven birdies and one bogey on her card, it was a great start for Malchirand, who was part of Team Europe at the 2019 PING Junior Solheim Cup and is competing in only her second LET event.
“It was a great round. I was a little bit stressed. It’s so impressive to play on the LET, the courses are awesome, and my game was really nice,” she said. “I hit great irons and great drives, so that helped a lot, and my putting was good as well. Everything was perfect.
“I was playing with a friend Pia [Babnik]. I played the PING Junior Solheim Cup with her so that was cool, and I also played with Isabelle [Boineau] who is French too, so that calmed me down and it was nice. I just want to get my game the same as today, I want to calm down and try to do my best so we will see tomorrow.”
Givens started her round in fine fettle with two birdies in the opening two holes, she dropped a shot on the 8th but bounced back with another birdie on the 11th before rolling in four birdies in her final five holes to claim a share of the lead.
“I started out pretty strong, I hit it to one foot on the first and two feet on the second hole. It was nice to get two easy birdies in straight away,” said Givens, who finished 27th on last season’s Race to Costa del Sol.
“I really enjoyed it from the moment I got here. It’s in fantastic condition, we’ve had perfect weather so far as well. It’s definitely scorable, there is a lot of birdies out there and I think everyone is going to start going low over the next couple of days. I’d love to win on the LET. I played well last season, worked really hard in the off-season and I’m hoping to continue that and keep up the good results.”
It was a dream opening day for Italian amateur Alessia Nobilio, who sits one stroke behind the leaders after the first round. The UCLA student had seven birdies and two bogeys on her card for a round of 67 to sit tied third alongside England’s Gabriella Cowley.
“It was the round I was dreaming of before playing, my game was really solid from the first hole and my attitude on the golf course was the right one today,” Nobilio explained.
“I’m thankful to my caddie for helping me a lot. I really wanted to play well for my nation and for all the people who are supporting me from the federation. I really did my best out there. My putting was really good, but I was also very regular with hitting a lot of fairways and a lot of greens as well and that helped me a lot.”
South Africa’s Lejan Lewthwaite and Wales’ Lydia Hall sit a shot further back on four-under-par, while five players are tied for seventh on three-under-par including last season’s LET Rookie of the Year Stephanie Kyriacou, Frida Gustafsson Spang, Ursula Wikstrom, Annelie Sjoholm and Emma Grechi.