(Reuters) – Paula Creamer carded a bogey-free seven-under-par 64 to surge to the top of the leaderboard after the opening round at the Evian Championship in France on Thursday.
With temperatures soaring up to 36 degrees Celsius (96.8°F) at the Evian Resort Golf Club, Creamer made a brilliant start to make the turn at 31 before grabbing the lead with her seventh birdie on the par-five 18th.
It is the first time the 32-year-old American has led a major championship since she lifted the 2010 U.S. Open title at Oakmont.
“I feel really just in control,” said Creamer, who was a teenager when she clinched the Evian Masters title in 2005, before it was given its status as a major.
“It’s been several years where I felt like just all-in-all good in my shoes.”
“I think the key was no bogeys. Every time I put myself out of position, I was able to make par. I love this golf course… it sets up really well for my game and it’s nice to come at a place you’ve won at.”
American Brittany Altomare, who finished runner-up to Anna Nordqvist in Evian in 2017, joined South Korean trio of Inbee Park, Ko Jin-young and Lee Mi-hyang at six-under.
Seven-times major winner Park has won the other four major championships but is yet to win the Evian.
World number two Ko, who won her first major at the ANA Inspiration in California in May, recovered well from an early bogey to finish with four birdies in a row.
Reigning British Open champion Georgia Hall endured a mixed round as she dropped two stokes on her final two holes to sign for a 69.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)