Golf

Ladies Scottish Open: Nicole Broch Larsen leads after two-hour fog delay

Nicole Broch Larsen led a strong Danish challenge at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open as she fired a 67 to end the first day in the outright lead.

The Ladies European Tour’s first event since before the coronavirus shutdown was disrupted by a two-hour delay as fog shrouded the Renaissance Golf Club, with nine groups having to return to the course at 6am on Friday morning to complete their first rounds.

But Broch Larsen was in the clubhouse by lunchtime after she birdied the final two holes to complete a four-under opener which gave her a one-shot lead over her compatriot Emily Kristine Pedersen.

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Solheim Cup star Azahara Munoz is alongside Pedersen on three under along with Germany’s Olivia Cowan and the American pair of Jennifer Song and Amy Olson, but Danielle Kang’s bid for a third consecutive LPGA Tour victory got off to a rocky start before she birdied the last to salvage a 71.

Larsen also struggled early on and ran up a bogey-six at the third, but she bounced back with three birdies in five holes to cap a front-nine 34, and she offset another birdie at 14 with a bogey at 15 before her stellar finish lifted her to four under.

“I had 26 putts, so that helps a lot,” she Broch Larsen, who was playing in the second group of the day. “I didn’t hit it like super close but I made a couple of long ones, and I just tried to keep it in play.

“I feel like that’s kind of the secret to links golf. Like you’ve got to just play the round and then you make your putt here and there, and yeah, I mean, then it’s four under.”

Scotland’s Gemma Dryburgh, who won back-to-back events in the Rose Ladies Series before heading to Ohio for the resumption of the LPGA Tour, led the home hopes after posting a solid two-under 69, and she insisted that being back in competition made up for the lack of atmosphere with spectators barred from attending.

“It’s a bit surreal really,” she said. “It is a bit weird not having the fans but I’m sure I would have lots of support usually with my family and hopefully the Scottish crowds, as well. It’s just one of those things, we are so glad to be out playing again.”

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