Gemma Burgess admitted she was thrilled to make a flying start at the English Girls’ Under 16 Open Championship.
The North Hants golfer fired a first round 68 to lead the way at Morecambe Golf Club on five under par.
Burgess – part of a 70-strong under 16 field – takes a two-shot lead into the second round of the 72-hole stroke play event.
In the under 14 section of the championship featuring a total of 45 golfers, Charlotte Woodham from West Hill leads the way after a one over par opening round of 74.
England girls’ squad member Maggie Whitehead is hot on Burgess’ heels in the under 16 grouping after opening with a three-under par round of 70.
Yale Lee from Coombewood and Wales’ Harriet Lockley playing out of Burnham and Berrow are in a tie for third spot after both signed for a level par score of 73.
Burgess notched an eagle three at the second hole and added a birdie at the fourth as she came out of the blocks at speed.
After turning in 35, four birdies in the first five holes on her back nine saw her pull clear of the field and even a dropped shot at 16 couldn’t wipe the smile from her face.
“I’m buzzing – I never thought I’d come up with that. I’m really happy,” confirmed Burgess.
“Everything went well – If I was in a bad place, I got myself out and putting was good as well.
“This gives me confidence and we’ll see what happens tomorrow.
“I’m hoping for another steady round – I loved the course so hopefully it’s another good one.”
Whitehead (pictured above) also got it to five under par after 15 holes of her round on the Lancashire coast.
However, two bogeys in the final three holes meant the 15-year-old had to settle for a three-under par round which still leaves her within striking distance of the leader.
The competition is just as fierce in the under 14 section with Woodham one shot ahead of Rosie Bee Kim, Roisin Scanlon and Matilde Santilli going into the second of three rounds.
“I’m quite pleased, because it’s one of my best rounds,” admitted Woodham.
“My driving was straight and I didn’t have any three putts which is helpful.
“It’s gives me confidence because I was really nervous for the first round.
“Next round I’m hoping to not necessarily to shoot the same as today, but to shoot around it because it’s put me in a great position.”
Photography credit: Leaderboard