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Carlota Ciganda, Mireia Prat and Pernilla Lindberg share lead at Ladies Masters

Dubai: Carlota Ciganda, Mireia Prat and Pernilla Lindberg shared a three-way tie for top spot at five-under par 67 after the first day of the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters at Emirates Golf Club on Wednesday.

Spain’s Ciganda hit three birdies on either nine but got pegged back by an opening bogey, while compatriot Prat recorded two birdies on her outward nine and returned with a further three. Meanwhile, Sweden’s Lindberg went out with three birdies and scored two more on the turnaround.

The trio are a shot clear of second-placed Pornanong Phatlum of Thailand, who shot four-under par 68 with bogies on either nine spoiling four birdies on her outward nine and two on her return.

Fog delayed the start of day one, meaning two groups were unable to finish their round due to bad light. They will have to play their respective remaining holes before their second round on Thursday.

“I’m very happy with my round,” said Ciganda, who secured both the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit and Rookie of the Year titles at this stage last year. “I started badly by missing the fairway but I feel very comfortable. This is my fifth year playing this tournament and I really enjoy Dubai, the course and the atmosphere.

“It really helps that you know the greens, the holes, how the ball bounces and what you have to hit for your second shots. Hopefully I can play good tomorrow and be at the top for the weekend.”

Prat recently secured her card for next year by winning the Access Tour and suggested that this may have given her the confidence to shoot low in her opening round of this season-ending event.

“I know I have my full card for next year and that was my goal this year,” said Prat. “So, I think there is no pressure here and, maybe, that’s the key. I was very confident at the start and played very well and was relaxed.

“But it’s the first day of a four-round tournament, so I’m just keeping focused and doing things like I did today and we’ll see what happens. I’ll stick to my game.”

Meanwhile, Lindberg said that, despite surpassing her expectations, she would temper her outlook heading into the next three days. “I went out today with low expectations but I was two under par through three, so that was a great start,” said Lindberg. Asked if that raised her expectations, she added: “Hopefully not. I try to go out there with low expectations because in golf it’s hard to follow up a low round. I think it’s better if you can go out and don’t even think about the day before.”