Hannah Darling leads the ANWA after opening 6-under 66
Hannah Darling fired a 66 in the first round of ANWA (Augusta National)
Hannah Darling fired a 66 in the first round of ANWA (Augusta National)

Scotland's Hannah Darling recorded eight birdies en route to a 6-under 66 at Champions Gate to grab a one-shot lead after the opening round of the Augusta Women’s National Amateur. 

The junior at South Carolina made just one par on her front nine. She opened the tournament with birdies on her first three holes. Her only bogeys came on hole Nos. 5 and 6. She bounced back with birdies on holes No. 6, 7, and 8. 

Over the course of the round, Darling was looking up at UCLA commit Francesca Fiorellini, who was off to a fast start atop the leaderboard. The Italian shot a 67 in her debut. Darling passed Fiorellini and Eila Galitsky when she made a birdie on the par-3 17th hole to reach six-under par.

Galitsky won the 2023 Women's Asia-Pacific Amateur.

Eila Galitsky finished off a dominating win at Women's Asia-Pacific

Galitsky’s 67 was filled with late fireworks. The 2023 Asia-Pacific Amateur champion was two-under par, standing on the 17th hole. A birdie on the 17th and an eagle on the par-5 closer put Galitsky in the thick of things heading into the second round. 

“I got lucky,” Galitsky said of her tee shot on 17. “I hit it fat, and it rolled onto the green. Then I made a ten-foot putt.”

She rode that bit of momentum to the 18th hole.

“I didn’t play the par fives well today,” she said. “So I wanted to finish strong on 18.”

Galitsky certainly did finish strong, hitting her second shot to about five feet before rolling home the putt.

Late in the day, Ingrid Lindblad, who is the No. 1 ranked player in the Golfweek/ Women's Rankings, made a charge up the leaderboard. After making the turn two-under par, she tallied three birdies on hole Nos. 11, 12, and 17 to sign for a 67. After sinking a long putt off the green on 17, Lindblad played aggressively on the 18th hole and left herself with a short chip shot. After backing off a six-foot birdie putt twice, Lindblad missed the putt, which would have pulled her into a tie with Darling. 

Lindblad missed the cut last year but finished T2 in 2022 and T3 in 2021. One reason she decided to return to LSU for one more year was to win this championship. She has put herself in a good position.

"I feel like I hit a lot of good shots and gave myself good chances," Lindblad said. "I made a lot of good par putts, especially on the front nine.”

The leader, Darling, is a two-time Curtis Cup player. She had Catriona Matthew, a fellow Scotswoman and 2024 Curtis Cup captain, following her during the round. 

“She’s been a role model for me growing up in Scotland,” Darling said. I grew up close to her and she’s always been there to give some great advice.”

While she notched eight birdies, Darling said she accomplished the goal of playing boring golf.

“You have to be disciplined out there. We wanted to pick numbers and be committed,” Darling said. “A few putts dropped, ones that don’t normally go in.”

In a field with 36 Americans and 36 international players, the leaderboard reflects the strong international contingent. University of Florida’s Maisie Filler is the low American after she shot a 68, two shots off the lead.

Overall, scoring was very good after a storm blew through the area overnight and in the morning. With somewhat chilly weather and winds hitting 15 mph tomorrow, the cut line could move a little higher and creep into the typical 2-over-par to 6-over-par window.

Coverage continues tomorrow at 1:30 on Golf Channel. The final round will be held on Saturday at Augusta National.

Results: Augusta National Women's Amateur (ANWA)
1EnglandLottie WoadEngland150068-71-69=208
2FLBailey ShoemakerDade City, FL100070-73-66=209
3SwedenIngrid LindbladSweden70067-76-69=212
4CAJasmine KooCerritos, CA70069-74-70=213
T5FLCasey WeidenfeldPembroke Pines, FL70072-72-70=214

View full results for Augusta National Women's Amateur (ANWA)

ABOUT THE Augusta National Women's Amateur (ANWA)

54-hole stroke-play tournament that will include a 72 player international field. The field will include winners of other recognized tournaments while also utilizing the Women's World Amateur Golf Rankings.

The first two rounds will be played at Champions Retreat Golf Club before the field is cut to the low 30 and ties for the final round at Augusta National.

The tournament will be played the week before the Masters, concluding on Saturday.

View Complete Tournament Information

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