by Ronan MacNamara
Beth Coulter by Golffile
Beth Coulter is best of the Irish after a one-under-par 71 on day one of the European Ladies Amateur Championship in Italy.
The 17-year-old is in a share of 16th five shots in arears of Swede Ester Fagersten who leads by two on six-under after an opening effort of 66.
Kirkistown Castle girl Coulter, cruised to the turn in two-under with birdies on 6 and 9 before she endured a rollercoaster back nine.
The Irish Girls Close Champion moved to three-under with a birdie on 13 before a disastrous run of double-bogey, bogey saw her tumble back to level par.
She responded with a plomb as she birdied the 16th to move back into the red and that’s where she finished.
Julie McCarthy also got off to a solid start with a level par 72 after she recovered superbly after a nightmare front nine.
The Forrest Little golfer stumbled to the turn in four-over 40 before she came roaring back into contention on the back nine.
Back-to-back gains followed on 10 and 11 before a birdie on 13. A rollercoaster finish was in store for the Augusta Women’s Amateur competitor as she finished birdie, bogey, birdie to eventually sign for an opening round 72 to leave her six shots off the pace.
Kate Lanigan and Anna Foster need something special to make the halfway cut after opening rounds of 77 and 79 respectively.
But the day belonged to Fagersten who recovered from an early bogey to register seven birdies to lead on six-under.
The 19-year-old roared to the turn with four birdies in five holes as she seized control on day one.
Defending champion Paula Schulz-Hanssen of Germany is three shots adrift after a three-under 69.
“I was nervous yesterday." Explained Fägersten after her round. "It's a long course and a tough course so I'm just really happy with my game today"
"I made some putts in the beginning and then just kept on going."