WALTON HEATH, England – Ally Ewing carded a 4-under-par 68 to seize a one-stroke lead at the year’s final major, the AIG Women’s Open on Thursday in Surrey, England.

Ewing collected five birdies against three bogeys before recording an eagle on the par-5 16th hole at Walton Heath Golf Club. The three-time LPGA Tour winner was one of 13 players to make eagle on No. 16.

“I missed my drive just a little bit right, it got hung up in the rough, and it was a situation where the ball was sitting down a little bit,” said Ewing, 30.

“But I happened to see both my playing competitors hit shots and noticed how firm it was up in front of the green. So I actually was able to learn a little bit there.

“And it was kind of gouge-type shot and just let it chase, and it just so happened to chase to like 5 feet. It’s one of those where you just – you’re trying to give yourself an eagle chance, and it just so happened to be a 5-footer. So definitely happy to walk away with an eagle.”

Ewing was the only player to come in under par on both the front nine (1-under 34) and the back nine (3-under 34) in the first round.

“It’s great to put a good first round together, but major championship golf, you can never – you know, you can never really lose focus,” said Ewing, whose best finish in a major was a tie for sixth at the 2019 Chevron Championship.

“So I’ll get some food and get a good night’s sleep and come back and take on the next day.”

She parred the final two holes to remain one shot ahead five other golfers – including 2019 US Women’s Open champion Jeongeun Lee6 of South Korea.

France’s Perrine Delacour joined Lee6, South Korean Amy Yang, Thailand’s Jaravee Boonchant and Denmark’s Emily Kristine Pedersen at 3-under.

“Tomorrow it’s a new day,” Delacour said. “I’ve been working with my team on trying to not replicate (my performance), both days. Tomorrow is going to come and I’m going to have a new feeling. I’m going to try to listen to my body and see from there.”

Yang tallied one eagle, five birdies, two bogeys and one double bogey. Boonchant, an LPGA Tour rookie in her first AIG Women’s Open, collected one bogey on No. 8 and made four birdies on the back nine (No. 10, 12, 16, 17).

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