NORTH BERWICK, Scotland — A trio of golfers shot rounds of 8-under 63 on Thursday, Aug. 8, to lead the Ladies Scottish Open in North Berwick, taking advantage of fair weather and an unexpected shorter course.
Leading the way were American Jane Park, Mi Hyang Lee of South Korea and Anne van Dam of the Netherlands, who sat atop a tightly packed leaderboard after Thursday's first round.
In all, 90 women shot even par or lower on the day, thanks to the organizers shortening the course with an eye toward stormy, autumn-like weather that is forecast for Friday and into the weekend.
Five tees were moved forward at The Renaissance Course, and the decision didn't sit well with all of the competitors. Three of the holes played 40 yards shorter than planned.
"On a day like today, the weather was just perfect and I saw no need to do that," the 23-year-old van Dam told The Herald, a Scottish newspaper. "If it's a day like tomorrow, with a lot of rain (predicted), fine. I can understand some movements. But a day like today?
"All I can say is I'm just disappointed. You're talking about the best players in the world in the female game. I don't think we need any short courses, not at all."
Van Dam and her group ended the day one stroke up on Thailand's Moriya Jutanugarn. Tied at 6-under par, two strokes back, were Su Oh of Australia, Caroline Hedwall of Sweden and Chella Choi of South Korea.
The defending champion, Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand, shot a 3-under 68, one of 10 golfers in a tie for 18th place.
Among the leaders, Lee, the 2017 champion, had an eagle and six birdies to reach her 63 on the day. Van Dam, on the other hand, had an up-and-down day: two eagles, seven birdies and three bogeys.
Park, who started at No. 10, played her first nine at 3-under, then added birdies at No. 2 and four straight from Nos. 4 through 7 to get to 8 under.
She had no complaints on the day and was looking forward to Friday's second round, no matter what the weather.
"I heard the end of the world is coming tomorrow," she said of the forecast. "I must be mad because I love playing in the wind and rain."
Rain and gale-force winds are predicted for Friday.