Slow start - Fast starters

Once the fog lifted around the Poggio dei Medici GC in the La Perla Italian Open, play was scintillating...

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Thu, 17 May 2001

Slow start - Fast starters

(Tuscany, Italy, May 17, 2001) Play was delayed an hour and a half this morning in the La Perla Ladies Italian Open due to thick fog descending on the rolling Tuscan fairways of Poggio dei Medici.

However, when the sun broke through the clouds, the players descended on the course in droves and the golf on offer was of the highest quality. Defending champion, Swede Sophie Gustafson, flew out of the blocks with four birdies in the first five holes, leaving her playing partners, England’s Samantha Head and Spain’s Raquel Carriedo, floundering.

But the big hitting Swede, currently at four under par through 12 holes, was not having it all her own way as Australia’s Corinne Dibnah is taking the challenge to her.

Dibnah, starting at the 10th hole, played faultless golf over the front nine, carding three birdies in the first seven holes, capping it off with an eagle at the 479-yard par five 18th. A birdie followed at the 359-yard first and the veteran Aussie leads at six under par after 12 holes.

Playing partner Paula Marti also eagled the tricky 18th and heads into the easier front nine at two under thanks to birdies at the opening two holes. Australian Karen Lunn, playing the course the right way round, began her campaign with four birdies on the front nine and is at four under par, joined by Sweden’s Asa Gottmo.

The British pairing of Trish Johnson and Kirsty Taylor are close behind on two under and three under par respectively, with both players playing faultless golf through 12 holes.