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Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall, on paper the best player in the international field of 144, set the clubhouse target very early in the day with an outstanding round of four-under-par 68 as the Ladies’ British open amateur championship started at windswept North Berwick today.
The 19-year-old twin from Barseback, who has a handicap of +5.4 and is making her debut in the championship, made light of the strong north-westerly wind which made the 6,250yd, fast-running links a tough test.
“We have three holes at Barseback which are close to the sea so I am used to playing in winds like today – and I have played in the last three Scottish women’s stroke-play championships at Troon, so I have learned something from playing links golf in a wind from my previous visits to Scotland,” said Caroline who will start a golf scholarship at Oklahoma State University in the autumn.
She dropped her only shot at the par-4 second hole where she, in her own words, “played a bad second through the green.”
From then on it was pars and birdies only as she managed to hit fairways and greens with unerring accuracy, splendid ball control in the conditions.
Hedwall birdied the short fourth (165yd) with a three-iron tee shot and a 10ft putt.
She picked up her second and third birdies at the par-5 ninth and 11th . She used a three-iron off the tee at the 515yd ninth, a five iron for her second and then pitched and putted for a 4, holing from 6ft to turn in one-under-par 36.
Hedwall covered the downwind 520yd of the 11th with a driver, eight-iron and two putts from from 45ft.
After parring the next six holes, she drove the 18th green (273yd) with a three-wood and holed her putt for an eagle 2 from 18ft for an inward half of three-under-par 35.
Canadian Maude-Aimee leblanc, 19, from Montreal, matched Caroline’s 36 to the turn but had double bogeys at the short 10th and par-4 17th in an inward 37 for 75.
“I thought it would be much easier playing downwind after the turn but I found it more difficult with the wind behind me than I had into my face,” she said. “I couldn’t judge which clubs to use.”