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Tight battle as ladies target Senior British Open Amateur Championship title at Royal Belfast

 

By Paul Kelly

There's a two-way tie at the top of the leaderboard after the opening round of the Ladies' Senior British Open Amateur Championship at Royal Belfast.

Spain's Macarena Campomanes Eguiguren and Australian Sue Wooster are locked together on two under par (69).

Wooster, the reigning Australian Mid-Amateur champion, went to the turn in level-par 36, a birdie at the opening hole cancelled out by a dropped shot at the par-three seventh.

The 55-year-old, who recently won the Canadian Open, dropped a shot at the par-four 12th but reeled off three birdies over the closing six holes to come home in a two-under 35.

"I only started playing golf seriously when I was 40, and now I absolutely love it," Wooster explained.

"I did play other sports when I was younger, but golf is the best."

Playing partner Campomanes Eguiguren picked up an early birdie at the third, but dropped shots at the fourth and ninth saw the 2016 European Seniors Champion go to the turn in one over 37.

The 53-year-old played bogey-free golf on her back nine and collected birdies at the 10th, 15th and 17th to come home in a three-under 32.

England's Caroline Berry is in third, three shots off the pace, after an opening 72. Berry is married to Bromborough GC professional Geoff, and he played his part in her round.

"Professionals are not allowed to caddie, but he came over for the practice rounds," Berry said.

"He told me I had to plot my way round the course and that was what I did."

Berry finished fourth the last time the championship was held on these shores, at Royal Portrush in 2013

Gertie McMullen (The Island) is the best placed of the home contingent and is tied for sixth following an opening-round 75. Defending champion Laura Webb is a shot further back in a tie for ninth.

The second round continues today. After 36 holes, the players returning the 40 lowest scores and any ties qualify for the final 18 holes on Friday.

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