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7th August 2012

Charlotte Thompson (Image © Leaderboard Photography)
When Charlotte Thompson decided to "phone a friend" before going out to play in the first round of the English women's open stroke play championship at Little Aston in Staffordshire, she transformed her fortunes.

She put in the call to her coach when she was unhappy with her warm-up on the range - and his advice helped her to shoot high up the leaderboard.

Charlotte (Image © Leaderboard Photography), from Channels in Essex, finished the day on two-under par 71, just one shot off the lead set by Chloé Leurquin of Belgium. Third place is shared by Emily Coleman of Trentham and Megan Briggs of Scotland who both returned scores of one-under 72.

"I'm very pleased, it's a lovely start," said Charlotte. The 19-year-old, who will celebrate her birthday on Thursday, admitted to feeling tense on the range as she hit the ball to the right. But her coach, David March of Regiment Way Golf Club in Essex, has known her since she was five, knows her habits and was able to make a diagnosis from her description of the ball flight.

"He told me to do one of my drills, then to just hit balls and to go out and play my game - and that's what I did."

Charlotte, who was third in the English women's mid-amateur championship, parred the first and then made a birdie on the long second, despite having to chip off a path close to the green. Another birdie at the third helped her reach the turn at one-under. She had three birdies on the back nine, including the 17th and 18th , which outweighed her two bogeys.

First round leader Chloé Leurquin compiled an extremely tidy card with two birdies on each half and just one dropped shot all day, on the par four seventh. She is one of three Belgian players in the top 15.

Emily Coleman, who leads the local challenge in third place, was in the first group out and set a formidable target. She had four birdies in her round and was level par to the turn, playing the back nine in one-under.

Behind her on level par is a group of five players which includes Curtis Cup star Kelly Tidy (Royal Birkdale) and Emily Taylor (Hillside), who won the English girls' championship last week and is clearly carrying her good form forward.

Meanwhile, 14-year-old Victoria Mallett from nearby Sutton Coldfield Ladies' returned an impressive 75 and is sharing 15th place. Her older sister, Elizabeth, is currently representing England in the Girls' Home Internationals in Wales.

Leading scores
Par 73
70  Chloé Leurquin (BEL)
71 Charlotte Thompson (Channels)
72 Emily Coleman (Trentham), Megan Briggs (SCO)
73 Becky Harries (WAL), Alex Peters (Notts Ladies), Emily Taylor (Hillside), Kelly Tidy (Royal Birkdale), Manon De Roey (BEL)
74 Lauren Horsford (Wimbledon Park), Hannah Grant (Enmore Park), Rochelle Morris (Huddersfield), Kerry Smith (Waterlooville), Charlotte Wild (Mere)
75 Victoria Mallett (Sutton Coldfield Ladies), Helen Searle (Huddersfield), Inci Mehmet (Wentworth), Jane Turner (SCO), Laura Gonzalez-Escallon (BEL), Jessica Bradley (Tiverton)



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