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American Ally Ewing leads an international leaderboard after day one of the AIG Women’s Open at Walton Heath.

The 30-year-old posted a four-under-par 68 in the late evening sun to move a shot clear of a pack of five players at the renowned Surrey venue.

Ewing, chasing her first major title, posted five birdies in an up-and-down round before highlighting her day with an eagle at the par-5 16th.

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A three-time winner on the LPGA, her best finish in the AIG Women’s Open is a tie for 16th in 2017 and she impressed in the idyllic conditions over the heathland to claim the early advantage among the 144-player field.

“Obviously it’s exciting to get in with a good first round but it’s a long way to go until Sunday,” said Ewing. “It’s great to put a good first round together but in major championship golf you can never really lose focus.

“I’ll get some food and get a good night’s sleep and come back and take on the next day. Getting around in four-under, regardless of the conditions, I’m very happy.”

Amy Yang and Jeongeun Lee6, both from Korea, as well as Thailand’s Jaravee Boonchant, Perrine Delacour from France, and Denmark’s Emily Kristine Pedersen all posted three-under-par rounds of 69.

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Spain’s Carlota Ciganda and Mexico’s Gaby Lopez are among a large group at two-under, while Charley Hull leads English hopes after opening with a 71 which also included an eagle at the 16th.

The defending champion, Ashleigh Buhai from South Africa, signed for a two-over 74, the same mark as England’s Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier, the French player chasing a third straight win and a second major victory in three weeks.

Another Englishwoman, Mel Reid, struck the opening tee shot at 6.30am and went on to post a level par round of 72.

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