Liz Young got her bid for a maiden Ladies European Tour title off to a strong start by holding a share of the opening-round lead at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters.
The 33-year-old opened with four consecutive birdies on her way to a six-under 66 at Emirates Golf Club and set the clubhouse lead, only for Carmen Alonso to move alongside her after a bogey-free start to the week.
Omega Dubai Ladies Masters
Young followed on from last month`s fifth-place finish in India by going on a birdie run along the back nine from the 10th, with back-to-back gains around the turn moving her top of the leaderboard.
Successive blemishes over the next two holes were cancelled out by birdies at the fourth and fifth to move the long-hitter back on top spot, with Young needing just 25 putts during her opening round in friendly scoring conditions.
"I`m really pleased with today," said Young. "I`ve been practising the 12-foot putts and it`s just the feeling of the ball going in the hole, working on your stroke, because it`s been so windy and cold at home in England.
"Considering my tour average this year was 31, that was pretty good, 25 putts and 15 greens hit. I`ve been striking it well all year but haven`t been able to put the numbers together. I had a good finish in India a few weeks ago but I`ve been a bit disappointed with my season considering how good my swing`s got compared to last year.
"The start of every tournament, my goal is to win it. I know I`ve got to play good golf, and especially this tournament, there are a lot of good golfers playing here, and higher ranked than me, but I feel that I can win."
Top seed Shanshan Feng also looked set to join Young on six under, but having picked up a shot at the 17th she missed a six-foot birdie chance at the last.
Feng sits third after her blemish-free start to the tournament, with Dame Laura Davies a further stroke off the pace alongside Elisa Serramia.
Davies had 27 putts in her 68 and was happy to be in contention for her 80th official tour title. "I feel like it`s a course I should do well on," she said. "The first few years, I think I finished second, third and fourth. Since then I`ve had some missed cuts and average finishes. This is a good start but that`s all it is: a good start."
In the race for the Rookie of the Year award, a penultimate-hole blemish from Nanna Koerstz Madsen, who needs to finish third or better this week to have a chance of taking the title, gave Danish counterpart Emily Kristine Pedersen the advantage.
Pedersen makes up part of a large group tied for sixth that also includes Georgia Hall and Maha Haddioui, who needs a top-10 finish this week in order to keep her LET playing rights for 2016.
Charley Hull was unable to turn her strong start in to a low round and lies six off the pace. She followed a run of four straight gains with a double-bogey at the 18th and two further dropped shots after the turn.
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