SCOTLAND’S CAITRIONA MATTHEW carded a sensational round of 67 to lead the way at the Ladies Irish Open.
Matthew went on a birdie blitz across the opening nine holes and was -7 after 16 holes before bogeying the final two holes.
Pernilla Lindberg of Sweden had set the score to beat on the first day of the Bord Failte sponsored event and lead the field for most of the afternoon on -4.
The 26-year-old knocked in six birdies and two bogeys to sign for a round of 68 at Killeen Castle after negotiating cool and breezy conditions this morning.
There are five Irish participants playing at the event in Meath and most of the attention was focused on Lisa and Leona Maguire, the 17-year-old golfing twins from Cavan.
Leona had the better of the sibling duel but still finished on +8, while Lisa carded a lacklustre round of 85 to finish on +13.
Leona, playing in a marquee group with Pettersen and Gustafson, was eight over par after six bogeys and a double in her first 14 holes. She steadied the ship with a birdie on 15, but then dropped another shot on 16.
Lisa was also struggling at four over after nine holes and a triple-bogey on the 11th was particularly disappointing. The highlight of her day was a birdie four on the 15th.
I was very steady and didn’t miss many fairways. I think I missed number one and then hit every fairway. My irons were good. I gave myself chances with short birdie putts and my putting was good too.
Felicity Johnson (-3) and Elizabeth Bennett (-2) of England are next best on the leaderboard. Defending champion Suzann Pettersen of Norway finished on level par.
Danielle McVeigh is best placed of the Irish on +2 after 15 holes while Tara Delaney (+5) and Rebecca Codd (+8) are further back.