Anne Van Dam and Caroline Hedwall boost Solheim Cup claims in Scotland
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 08/08/19 9:19pm
Anne Van Dam and Caroline Hedwall went a long way towards locking up a Solheim Cup place as both made great starts to the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open.
Van Dam fired a superb 63 to earn a share of the lead with former champion Mi Hyang Lee and Jane Park, while Hedwall is just two off the pace on a low-scoring opening day at The Renaissance Club.
Dutch ace Van Dam currently occupies the third and final automatic qualification place for the Solheim Cup on the Ladies European Tour points list, one place behind Hedwall as the Swede bids to take on the Americans for the fourth time.
Playing alongside veteran Suzann Pettersen for the first time in her career, Van Dam produced two of the best shots of the day as towering long-irons set up close-range eagles at the first and 12th holes, while the 23-year-old also made seven birdies while blotting her card with three bogeys in an entertaining eight-under opener.
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"All I can do is play as well as I can, and I've played really well the last two years now," said Van Dam, who won her fourth LET title at the ActewAGL Canberra Classic in March. "All I can control is just how I play and play well today, so I'm pleased with that."
Lee put herself in prime position to emulate her victory at Dundonald Links in 2017 as she carded an eagle and six birdies while avoiding any bogeys, and Park later made it a three-way tie at the top.
Bragging rights in the Jutanugarn family on day one went to Moriya, who is just one shot off the lead after her 64 which was four shots better than younger sister Ariya, whose caddie, Peter Godfrey, is Park's husband and celebrated his birthday on Thursday.
Hedwall was just one under par with seven holes to play before surging up the leaderboard with five birdies in a sparking six-hole run, and she said: "I was struggling a little bit off the tee, but I was just putting amazing today, so I was just taking advantage of a hot putter and got a low one in, so that's nice with the weather coming in."
Holly Clyburn leads the British challenge on four under, while Georgia Hall and Charley Hull struggled to make much happen on the greens as both made three birdies against one bogey in their two-under 69s.
Pettersen and Mel Reid are in the frame to be among Catriona Matthew's four captain's picks for the Solheim Cup when they are announced on Monday, but they got off to sluggish starts despite the benign conditions.
Pettersen bogeyed the last to return a level-par 71, while Reid fired a 72 blighted by a double-bogey seven at the 16th and both will need to go low on Friday to avoid a weekend off.