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AS IT STANDS -6 Shibuno; -5 J. Korda; -4 Duncan, Lopez; -4 Stark, Chun, Boutier, Lee, Ewart Shadoff SELECTED OTHERS -1 N. Korda; E L. Ko; +4 Davies; +5 JY Ko, Matthew

Louise Duncan’s AIG Women’s Open fairytale just keeps on going.

The young Scot, who finished in a tie for tenth on her tournament debut at Carnoustie last year, carded a four-under 67 to be lying in a tie for third after one round of this year’s championship at Muirfield.

Playing alongside former champion and fellow Scot Catriona Matthew in the first group out, Duncan – who turned professional less than a fortnight ago – produced one of the rounds of the day, highlighted by an eagle at the 17th. 

That leaves her just two shots off the early pace set by the 2019 Women’s Open champ, Hinako Shibuno of Japan. 

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“It was worth the 4.30am alarm,” Duncan told The Courier afterwards. “I’m just really happy overall with my game. I hit loads of greens, lots of great putts. I stayed patient as well which led to holing a putt on 17.

“I think the key is I didn’t take it too seriously. I just went out and enjoyed my warm-up. I’m rolling with the punches and we’ll see where it takes me.”

Shibuno, meantime, is hoping to repeat the success she enjoyed three years ago at Woburn and she admitted to feeling a little “nostalgic” seeing her name at the top of the leaderboard.

“It has been a long time since I’ve played this well, especially putting,” she said. “Honestly it was a little frightening.

“Two years ago, when we were playing at the Royal Troon, the wind completely over took my shots. I wasn’t thinking about how to use this to my advantage. However, this tournament I could adapt my style to the elements.”

US Solheim Cup star Jessica Korda is sandwiched between Shibuno and Duncan in second place on the leaderboard.

The 29-year-old is seeking her first major victory – and is doing so minus her own clothes after her suitcase went missing in transit earlier this week. 

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“If anyone knows anyone at the Zurich airport that would like to put my suitcase on the one flight a day that they have coming into Edinburgh, I’d deeply appreciate it,” said Korda.

She said: “Monday, I wore Megan Khang’s pants. Tuesday, I wore my sister’s pants and Wednesday, I wore Alison Lee’s pants.Today, I’m wearing FootJoy pants. 

“I gave up on it by Wednesday. If it comes here, great, but if not, it is what it is.”

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