Scotland’s Catriona Matthew is the leader of the Ladies' Irish Open supported by Fáilte Ireland after a windy first day at Killeen Castle.
The 42-year-old Scot fired a five under par 67 to finish a stroke ahead of Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg.
England’s Felicity Johnson posted a 69 to sit two shots off the pace.
Danielle McVeigh was the best of the Irish competitors on four over, while Tara Delaney was a shot further back. Rebecca Codd and Leona Maguire ended in a group on eight over. Lisa Maguire pulled out due to injury.
“It was very strange, actually,” said world number 27 Matthew.
“I played very steadily on the front nine and then just a silly three-putt on 18 for a bogey and I was out in one over. I made a good par on the first and then had seven birdies on the next eight holes and one bogey so kind of a strange nine but I’ll take it. It’s always nice when you see the putts dropping in.”
She admitted that she took inspiration from being back at the scene of one of the biggest highlights of her career last September, when she played a key role in Europe’s Solheim Cup victory, going undefeated with a memorable 6 & 5 win over Paula Creamer in the opening singles.
Matthew tied for sixth at the Irish Open at the same Co Meath venue in 2011 and she observed: “It’s playing a little longer than it did in the Irish Open but probably similar to how it did in The Solheim, because it was wetter later in the year then. It’s similar to how it played then.”