Davies stays in contention

Laura Davies managed five birdies in a four-under-par score of 68 to finish two off the lead in the first round of the Kronenbourg 1664 Chart Hills Classic here yesterday.

Laura Davies managed five birdies in a four-under-par score of 68 to finish two off the lead in the first round of the Kronenbourg 1664 Chart Hills Classic here yesterday.

Italy's Isabella Maconi, who feared she might have to pull out with a wrist injury, and Joanne Mills, from Australia, shared the lead on six-under-par 66.

Maconi put together a flawless round in the pleasant conditions and said: "I had to pull out of the Pro-am with a wrist injury and I really didn't think I would be able to play today. But everything clicked."

Britain's, Davies was alongside Karen Lunn from Australia as she set her sights on a first European Tour win of the season.

Starting at the 10th, Davies raced to the turn in four-under 32, but she could not quite keep up the pace on the back nine where a three-putt bogey at the second, was followed by her fifth birdie of the round at the par five fifth, where she was home in two.

"I'm a little disappointed not to capitalise on being four under at the turn but, overall, I'm really pleased," said Davies, who needs the title to retain her record of a win in Europe in every year since joining the tour in 1985.

"But you need a fast start in a three round event, and 68 is fine for the first day."

Belgium's Valerie Van Ryckeghem saw her hopes of Solheim Cup selection suffer a setback with a five-over-par 77. She needs to finish seventh or better to move into the seven automatic selection spots for the European side to meet America at Loch Lomond in October. Marine Monnet, from France, who needs to win, could only manage a 73.

Chart Hills Classic (Kent) Leading first-round scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 66 I Maconi (It), J Mills (Aus). 68 L Davies, K Lunn (Aus). 69 S Mendiburu (Fr). 70 S Gronberg Whitmore (Swe), J Van Hagen (Neth), S Jelander (Swe). 71 R Lautens (Swit), D Booker (Aus), P Meunier Lebouc (Fr), S Gustafson (Swe). 72 A Milie (It), R Carriedo (Sp), D Reid, L Maritz (SA), E Steen (Swe). 73 L Neumann (Swe), A Munt (Aus), W Daden, L Brooky. 74 C Dibnah (Aus), K Taylor, M Hageman (Neth), M Lunn (Aus), M De Boer (Neth), T Craik. 75 S Sandolo (It), S Moon (US), C Duffy, A Arruti (Sp), K Takanashi (Japan), N Moult, K Orum (Den), S Elliott. 76 M Cosenza (It), S Forster, A Nicholas. 77 S Bennett, V Van Ryckeghem (Bel), T Surface. 78 S Fscher (Aut). 79 V Michaud (Fr). 80 E Poburski (Ger). 81 M Marselli (It). 84 A Sheard (SA). 85 A Nistri (It).

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