Doherty out in front

American Amanda Doherty equaled her career-best round on the LPGA Tour of 67 (-6) to lead by one stroke at the end of the first day of the ISPS Handa World Invitational presented by Aviv Clinics.

The 24-year-old, who began her round at Galgorm on the 10th tee, started with a birdie on her first hole before adding two more on 13 and 18 to make the turn in three-under.

Doherty rolled in four more birdies on her back nine with her only dropped shot coming at the fourth for a round of six-under-par.

“I was really just trying to stay in the moment today, and I feel like I was just kind of in that mindset starting the day,” said the LPGA Tour rookie.

“I stayed patient. I know it’s kind of cliche, but it works. I was hitting the ball well. I made a couple of good putts and there were some reachable par-fives, so it just kind of came together.

“I thought it was awesome out there. This is like perfect weather for me, and the course is in great shape. You don’t often get to play two courses, so it’s definitely interesting. A totally new game plan tomorrow. I’m just trying to stick to the same thing and stay patient and hopefully have a good round.”

Four players sit in a tie for second place at the end of the first round with America’s Lauren Coughlin and Denmark’s Emily Kristine Pedersen firing rounds of 67 (-5) at Massereene.

While Ireland’s Leona Maguire and England’s Georgia Hall both carded rounds of 68 (-5) at Galgorm for the quartet to be on five-under-par.

It was an up and down round for Maguire after she began with a bogey at the first, but she fought back with an eagle and back-to-back birdies on holes three through to five.

Despite further dropped shots on the sixth, eighth, and 12th, the Solheim Cup star rolled in five birdies in her last 10 holes including three consecutively on 16, 17, and 18 for her round of 68.

“It is never ideal when you hit your first tee shot out of bounds,” Maguire said. “I didn’t hit the ball particularly well today well off the tee. There were a few dropped shots, but I putted really nice to keep myself in there. It’s always nice to finish with three birdies in the end.

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