Laura Webb, the 2016 winner, took a stride towards a second Women’s Senior Amateur Championship with an opening day course record of five-under-par 67 over the Craighead Links at Crail.
With an outstanding round of five birdies and an eagle - she chipped in at the par five eighth - the Irish stalwart led by three shots from the oldest player in the field, Beatriz Arenas, from Guatemala.
Arenas shot a 70 to continue an impressive run on her overseas trip. Having represented her country in the World Amateur Team Championships at Carton House in Ireland the 70-year-old then went on to win the Irish Senior Women’s Open at the Grange.
Webb, who plays out of East Berkshire, has won all the Irish National Championships - girls, ladies and senior - and she has also represented her country at the three levels.
“I’m really delighted with my round,” said Webb whose husband, Peter, was her caddie. “It became very blowy towards the finish of the round and I dropped a shot at the 17th. I know the wind is predicted to double in speed tomorrow so it is going to be very tough.”
Webb broke the women’s course record by three shots - she was six-under-par at the turn and had another birdie at the 15th. In addition to the 17th she also bogeyed the 14th.
Arenas, an award winning artist, is a highly decorated golfer in her homeland. She is an 11-time Guatemala Champion and has ten Central American titles.
“There are only five curses in Guatemala,” revealed the Mum of five and Grandmother to 16. “But the weather is always lovely. I’ve really enjoyed my trip to Ireland and Scotland. and I am very happy with my opening round today.”
Two English players - Helen Lowe, from Scraptoft in Leicestershire, and Bishops Stortford’s Jackie Foster were the other players to beat par and shared third place on 71.
“I putted really well today and am thrilled with the score,” said Lowe, who had three birdies and two bogeys, including one at the 18th. “I didn’t start golf until my mid-20s but I have won the English Senior Stroke Play title and played at county level.”
Foster had four birdies. “It was really tough out there, but you just had to keep battling,” said the England Senior cap.
Wooster in touch
Sue Wooster, the runner-up last year, stayed well in touch on level par 72, although she was disappointed to drop shots at the 16th and 17th.
The Australian arrived in Scotland following a successful sojourn to the other side of the Atlantic. She won the Canadian Senior and Mid-Amateur titles and the North and South Championship at Pinehurst in the US.
Elaine Moffat, a former Scottish Champion and winner of the Scottish Seniors Women’s Amateur at Prestwick St Nicholas in June, was the best of the Scots on two-over-par 74. The St Regulus golfer had four birdies to stand tied 12th.
The Spanish flag was flown at hall-mast to mark the tragic murder death of the 2018 European Ladies Amateur Champion Celia Barquin Arozamena.
Macarena Campomanes, the Spaniard who won the title at Royal Belfast last year, opened her defence with a round of 80.