DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Australia’s Nikki Garrett shot a 5-under 67 in windy conditions Wednesday to take a one-stroke lead over France’s Gwladys Nocera after the first round of the 90-hole LPGA Tour qualifying tournament.
The 25-year-old Garrett, a two-time winner on the Ladies European Tour, opened on the Champions Course at LPGA International.
“It was a good start,” Garrett said. “I actually probably didn’t hit it that great today. … I got up and down well and I putted pretty well. I kept my drives in play, which was good. It was just a fun day, really.”
The top 20 finishers will earn Priority List Category 11. In the event of a tie, a playoff will decide the 20th position. Players finishing 21st through 30th will earn Priority List Category 16, and Nos. 31-40 will receive Priority List Category 20.
Nocera is a 10-time winner on the European tour and three-time Solheim Cup player.
“I want to be better, so I think I need to play a few tournaments in the U.S,” Nocera said. “Last year by being No. 1 on the Ladies European Tour I didn’t get any invites, so I figured out the only way to play over here is to get my card.”
Nocera also played the Champions Course, the site of the final round. The Legends Course also is being used for the first four rounds.
Yuko Mitsuka, Azahara Munoz, Il Hee Lee and Leah Wigger opened with 69s, and Katie Kempter, Iben Tinning and Nicole Jeray shot 70s.
Four-time tour winner Dorothy Delasin was last in the 105-player field at 90. She missed the cuts in all 16 events she played this season.