Ana Menendez of Mexico held the lead on four-under-par at the Jabra Ladies Open when a storm forced round one play to be suspended overnight.
Menendez had completed 12 holes at Evian Resort Golf Club in Evian-les-Bains, France, before the skies overhead filled with heavy rain, thunder and lightning.
She leads by one over Switzerland’s Valeria Martinoli, who was in the clubhouse on 68, with Camille Chevalier from France and Iceland’s Gudrun Bjorgvinsdottir on three-under-par after 15 and 12 holes respectively.
There are five players in the clubhouse on two-under 69, including Frenchwomen Valentine Derrey and Ariane Provot, Spain’s Elia Folch, Belgian Fanny Cnops and Moroccan Maha Haddioui, with England’s Lauren Taylor and Italian Stefania Avanzo also on that number and still on the course.
The first round will resume at 7.30am local time on Friday, before the second round gets under way at 8.30. After 36 holes, there will be a cut to the leading 50 professionals and ties, who will play the final round on Saturday.
The Jabra Ladies Open is the first ‘dual ranking’ event on the Ladies European Tour and LET Access Series and doubles as the European qualifier for The Evian Championship, with two spots available into the fifth Major of 2018.
Menendez, who earned a career-best finish of second at last year’s Ladies European Thailand Championship in Pattaya, is looking for her first title and a debut appearance in The Evian.
Starting her round from the 15th hole, she picked up four birdies at the par-3 second, par-4 third, par-four sixth and par-five seventh holes, before play was suspended.
Her closest challenger, Martinoli, 26, from Ascona Golf Club near Ticino, started from the sixth and had five birdies in her round, but dropped a shot on 14 and then closed with a three-putt bogey on the fifth green.
The fourth-year professional, who has her father, Luca, as her caddie, said: “I’m pretty happy with my long game, which was solid. My putting was also good and I holed some good putts, but I could have holed more.”
Earlier in the day, Derrey, who won the 2016 Jabra Ladies Open before it became the official Evian qualifier, set the target. She would love to make a second appearance in The Evian Championship, having qualified courtesy of her maiden Ladies European Tour victory in the 2014 Turkish Airlines Ladies Open.
The 30-year-old from Paris said: “It’s a course I like and a place I like to come to. I felt good and it’s a course where you have to be strategic and place your ball to have the best shot into the green. I hit the ball very well consistently and I hit it close to the pins and made a couple of putts.”
Folch, Cnops and Haddioui are all looking to make their debut appearance in The Evian Championship and Cnops, 27, from Gent, said: “It’s something that’s on your bucket list and now it’s an opportunity to actually make it, so it would mean a lot. I’m trying not to put too much pressure on the result and just feeling good around the course and taking in the experience.”
Folch, 27, from Barcelona, added: “There is still a lot of work to do but it would be amazing to qualify: a dream come true.”
The winner of the Jabra Ladies Open will also secure their place in this year’s Ricoh Women’s British Open championship.
photo Wagner Araujo
photo Jay Adeff