Brown leads ISPS Handa; four tied in LPGA event


BALLYMENA, Northern Ireland — Daniel Brown of England shot 7-under 64 to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the ISPS Handa World Invitational on the European tour on Thursday.

In the co-sanctioned LPGA Tour event taking place concurrently, there was a four-way share of the lead between Gabrielle Cowley of England, Ellinor Sudow of Sweden, Kim Metraux of Switzerland and Karis Davidson of Australia, who all shot 4-under 69.

The parkland Galgorm Castle Golf Club and the links at Castlerock Golf Club are staging the tournament. Every men’s and women’s player plays one round at each venue over the first two days, before all the action takes place at Galgorm once the cut falls after 36 holes.

The best scores came at Castlerock, where Brown – an Englishman ranked No. 374 – played and made six birdies as well as an eagle at the par-5 15th. Alex Fitzpatrick and Callan Barrow of England, Manu Gandas of India and Gregorio De Leo of Italy were tied on 5 under, with only De Leo of them playing Galgorm.

The joint leaders on the LPGA Tour event all played Castlerock, too. Of the top 12, only American golfer Marissa Steen (70) played Galgorm.

Sweden’s Maja Stark won the women’s title last year but is not in the field this week.

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