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Leseur upbeat despite a tough start

Under starter’s orders: Leseur checks in with officials before his first round

Kenny Leseur was disappointed with his opening round in the Junior Open Championship but believes better times lie ahead.

The Bermuda golfer shot a 19-over-par 92 at Kilmarnock (Barassie) Golf Club yesterday, carding nine bogeys, two double-bogeys and two triple bogeys, with a sprinkling of pars in between.

Chris Brough, from the Bermuda Junior Golf Association, who is accompanying Leseur at the tournament said the junior ultimately made too many mistakes on a course that “punishes any error”.

He said: “The temperature was 55 degrees and the wind was about 20 miles an hour. He [Leseur] hit seven of 15 fairways and six of 18 greens, so was scrambling.

“He’s confident that he can put a round together in the 70s if he can keep the ball in the short grass and convert some putts.

“This course requires concentration for every shot and tomorrow afternoon will be a 5½-hour round, so [it’s] a long time to keep concentration.”

Leseur finished the day in a three-way tie for 107, alongside Gile Bite Starkute, of Lithuania, and Danielle Marie Bekker, of Zimbabwe.

Yifan Ji, of China, meanwhile, set the pace with a one-under 72.

Ji was the only player who managed to break par in a round that contained five birdies and an eagle at the par-5 8th. The coastal conditions meant Ji’s card also contained four bogeys and an untimely double bogey at the 16th.

“The rough is difficult and the wind made the course very challenging, but it’s the same for everyone,” Ji said. “Unfortunately, I made a double bogey on 16th where I three-putted what should have been a straightforward hole. I find it more difficult to concentrate in the wind.”

The 15-year-old made the perfect start with a birdie at the par five first but dropped three strokes in the next five holes. However, she responded well with an eagle.

“That was a nice eagle,” she said. “It was downwind and I hit the green in two with a six-iron and holed from 15 feet.”

It was the start of a great run where Ji went on to record three consecutive birdies from the 10th before trading a bogey and a birdie at 13 and 14. Some of the shine was taken off the round with a seven at the 16th, but the leader composed herself to close with two pars into the wind.

Ji is closely followed Hyunkyung Park, of South Korea, Pedro Lencart Silva, of Portugal, and Josefine Egholm Hende, of Denmark, who all recorded level-par 73s to share second in the 54-hole event.