Golf: Bad weather proves no hindrance to Davies: Wind and rain takes its toll at Woburn but a course record is broken in Vienna

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The Independent Online
LAURA DAVIES, the winner of tournaments in Asia and America this season, has her sights on a first European victory of the year as she handed in a four-under-par 69 to set the early target in the Weetabix British Women's Open here over the Duke's course yesterday. Davies completed her round before the defending champion, Patty Sheehan from the United States, started her round.

No sooner had Davies finished than a thunderstorm held up play for 75 minutes. It was an admirable effort by Davies who had been one over par after six holes in the strong winds and rain squalls. Davies then struck a wedge to two feet to start her recovery with a birdie at the seventh. She then gathered three birdies in a row from the 11th and completed her day with an eagle three at the 462-yard 18th where she hit a glorious five-iron to eight feet.

'It is a magnificent start and I am absoloutely delighted,' Davies said. 'I had a rough start when I was one over after six but the birdie into the wind at the seventh was a real bonus.'

Davies had been two strokes clear of Australia's Karen Lunn and Corinne Soules, of France, and was never challenged until late in the day when Italy's Federica Dassu took her birdie tally to five with back-to-back efforts at the 11th and 12th. That put her three under but she was unable to take advantage of the calmer conditions, completing her round with regulation figures at the last six holes.

WEETABIX BRITISH WOMEN'S OPEN (Woburn): Leading first-round scores (GB and Irl unless stated): 69 L Davies. 70 F Dassu (It), Li Wen-Lin (Tai). 71 K Lunn (Aus). 72 * S Dallongeville (Fr), T Johnson, S van Wyk (SA), * A-C Jonasson (Swe). 73 * P Meunier (Fr), T Loveys, C Dibnah (Aus), X Wunsch (Sp), K Marshall, L Fairclough, S Bennett, M-L de Lorenzi (Fr). 74 * N Buxton, K Cathrein (US), K Leadbetter (US), A Nicholas, L Neumann (Swe), G Stewart, L Cowan (Aus), S Mendiburu (Fr), D Hanna, V Palli (Fr). * denotes amateur