Rathdrum’s Tracy Hanson forged her way into some impressive international company Thursday by putting together a solid round of 5-under-par 68 and earning a share of the firstround lead in the Britsh Women’s Open.
Hanson’s effort helped her build on a successful season that has her ranked among the top 25 money winners on the LPGA Tour and put her atop the leaderboard with countrywomen Emilee Klein and Julie Piers and three others.
Klein, who won last weekend’s Ping Welch’s Championship in Boston, started impressively with four birdies in an outward 31 and matched the 68s of Hanson, Piers, Peru’s Jenny Lidback, England’s Alison Nicholas and Scotland’s Dale Reid.
Seven other players were a stroke back.
After nine straight pars, Hanson eagled the par-5 10th by stroking in an 18-foot putt and later collected three more birdies.
“My caddie kept telling me to be patient, the putts will go in eventually. They did,” she said.
Klein did not seem surprised by her splendid start.
“I won last week but I’ve been in positions to win four or five times this season,” she said. “I’ve been working hard on my putting and also on being patient. I didn’t putt as well today as last week when I was more aggressive than usual.”
On her opening nine, she dropped birdie putts from 12 and 18 feet at the second and fifth. The only bogey during her six-birdie round was at the par-5 17th when she two-putted from three feet.
Piers, who played on the European tour in 1991 before getting her LPGA card, had six birdies in her round, three-putting the 12th for her only bogey.
Lidback, who has a Swedish father and a Peruvian mother, learned to play in Brazil but has lived for 20 years in the United States. She also had one bogey to spoil a six-birdie round.
Nicholas started a string of five birdies at the seventh after making a par save at the 465-yard fourth, where she had to chip from underneath a tree and hole a 12-foot putt.
Putts of 12 and 25 feet at the last two holes gave her the first 68 of the field. Reid had an eagle and six birdies, but also made three bogeys.
Defending champ Karrie Webb was among the seven who shot 69, while England’s Laura Davies, who is second on the LPGA money list, recorded a 72.
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