Ash Right Up There

Ashleigh Simon of South Africa on the 9th tee during the first round of the Catalonia Ladies Masters, at the Club de Golf Masia Bach in Barcelona, Spain. Picture: Tristan Jones / LETSouth Africa’s Ashleigh Simon has carded a two-under par 70 at the Catalonia Ladies Masters in Barcelona, Spain, for an overnight second place with Australia’s Karen Lunn and Whelsh Becky Brewerton, two shots of the pace of England’s Kirsty Taylor after the first round.

Simon played beautifully on some holes for seven birdies and six pars, but dropped a shot at five flags in tricky conditions to stay in reach of her best finish as a pro in her rookie year.
“I’m pretty happy with the way I played today. I played consistent golf,” said Simon. “I was disappointed to have bogeyed the last. I hit it left off the tee but otherwise I’m pretty happy with my game.
By contrast, Gloucestershire’s Taylor, the 2005 Wales Ladies Open champion, fired four birdies in swirling winds on the hilly Club de Golf Masia Bach.
“I think the secret is to not have heavy legs in the morning. It’s probably the most demanding golf course we’ve played,” said a delighted Taylor. “It’s been tough. It’s a tough walking golf course and the wind has also been tough. It seemed to get stronger and stronger as we went round.
“You can see the pool from the 18th green,” said Taylor. “All that kept my caddy Roy and I going out there was thinking about the pool. Now that’s where we’re going.”
Simon who turned professional on 12th May, a day after her 18th birthday, set the target after playing in the first match of the day with Spaniard Paula Marti, who had a 74.
Simon carded three birdies and one bogey to become the early clubhouse leader. She birdied holes nine, ten and 15 with one bogey at the par-four 18th.
The tournament is Simon’s fourth successive appearance on the Ladies European Tour since she turned professional and she added: “I’ve been away for three weeks now.
“I had to do my washing for the first time, which was interesting. I’m not home sick yet, but I go home after this week for two weeks, then I’m off to the States.”
She has received invitations to play in the HSBC Women’s World match play and Jamie Farr Women’s Classic tournaments.
Lunn, the chairman of the Ladies European Tour’s Board of Directors, had a mixed round with seven birdies, two bogeys and a triple. She said: “It was tough out there today.
“The wind was swirling but there were a lot of birdie chances if you were playing well. I was driving the ball very well.”
Australia’s Nikki Garrett, a two-time LET champion in May, carded a 71 and tied for fifth position with recent BMW Ladies Italian Open champion Trish Johnson from England.
Meanwhile England’s Kirsty S Taylor, Denmark’s Iben Tinning and Italy’s Veronica Zorzi tied for seventh place on level par 72.
Catalonia Ladies Masters
Scores at the end of Round One
68 – Kirsty Taylor (ENG)
70 – Ashleigh Simon (SA), Karen Lunn (AUS), Becky Brewerton (WAL)
71 – Nikki Garrett (AUS), Trish Johnson (ENG)
72 – Kirsty S Taylor (ENG), Iben Tinning (DEN), Veronica Zorzi (ITA)
73 – Lynn Brooky (NZ), Lotta Wahlin (SWE), Sarah Kemp (AUS)
74 – Paula Marti (ESP), Asa Gottmo (SWE), Amanda Moltke-Leth (DEN), Ludivine Kreutz (FRA), Rebecca Hudson (ENG)
75 – Louise Friberg (SWE), Gwladys Nocera (FRA)
76 – Virginie Auffret (FRA), Rebecca Coakley (IRE), Lora Fairclough (ENG), Sophie Giquel (FRA), Celeste Troche (PAR), Tania Elosegui (ESP), Ana B Sanchez (ESP)
77 – Stephanie Arricau (FRA), Anja Monke (GER), Virginie Lagoutte-Clement (FRA), Marta Prieto (ESP), Karen-Margrethe Juul (DEN)
78 – Marina Arruti (ESP), Riikka Hakkarainen (FIN), Lisa Hall (ENG)
81 – Beatriz Recari (ESP), Ana Larraneta (ESP)
82 – Elisa Serramia (ESP)
83 – Nora Angehrn (SWI), Sophie Sandolo (ITA)
85 – Bettina Hauert (GER) 
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