Lydia Ko and Suzann Pettersen both fired four-under-par 68 in ideal conditions to share the first round lead at the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open.
Doncaster’s Rebecca Hudson shot 75, dropping shots at holes six, seven and eight as well as the last while finding a solitary birdie at 14.
Ko opened with a bogey free round containing four birdies on a sunny afternoon at Dundonald Links in North Ayrshire on Scotland’s west coast.
She started from the 10th and picked up a shot at the par-4 13th before adding three more birdies on the fourth, seventh and eighth holes.
“I kind of didn’t know what score to expect because the course is pretty tough, even without the wind,” said world No 2 Ko, 18, from New Zealand.
“You can see by the scores it’s not crazy low, but I think we were lucky with the wind not being as strong as it was the last couple of days.
“Playing over here in the Scottish Open, you can’t use the same game as you can in the States. You’re hitting different shots and I think the key to playing well here is being really creative, because you need to find the shot that will give you a high percentage.”
Playing in the next group in the afternoon draw, Pettersen started with four birdies in her first five holes from the 10th, but found a tricky lie in a bunker on 16 and three-putted on the 18th green. She recovered a share of the lead with two more birdies on the third and fifth holes and said: “I managed my game well, adjusted on a few tee shots according to the wind and gave myself a lot of looks.”
The world No .7 from Norway added: “It was pretty straightforward and the course set up is very good, so it’s playable. It’s amazing what a difference the wind makes depending on where it comes from and how strong it is.”
Earlier in the day, Frenchwoman Celine Herbin set the target with a three-under-par 69, which included five birdies and two bogeys. The 32-year-old, who lives in Santander, Spain and plays at Real Golf de Pedrena, the home course of Seve Ballesteros, said: “It was a really nice day and a new experience for me as it’s the first time I’ve played the Scottish Open. To play on a links course, I really enjoyed it, because we don’t play on too many links courses.”
A stroke further behind, Kelsey MacDonald led the Scots’ charge on two under par.
Top ranked Scot Catriona Matthew opened with a two-over 74 while fellow Solheim Cup star Charley Hull, from England, had a four-over 76 to lie just inside the projected cut line.