NICOLE BROCH ESTRUP EXCELS IN SPITE OF CADDIE INJURY

Denmark’s Nicole Broch Estrup fired her second-lowest round of the year on Thursday at the FREED GROUP Women’s Scottish Open, carding a 4-under 68 in the first round at Dundonald Links. Broch Estrup started slow, making a bogey on her first hole of the day, but recovered quickly, grabbing three birdies in a five-hole stretch from holes three to seven to move to 2-under. After turning in 34, the 30-year-old rattled off five consecutive pars before carding another birdie on the par-3, 15th hole, making one last birdie on No. 17 to close out her round and sit four back of the lead at 4-under.

The 68 is Broch Estrup’s first round in the 60s since the final day of the Amundi German Masters in June and is her first round of 68 or better since she carded a season-low round of 66 on day two of the Joburg Ladies Open in March. It’s also the second-lowest round she has ever recorded in the FREED GROUP Women’s Scottish Open, and her day-one effort has given Broch Estrup plenty of positives to carry with her into the next 54 holes.

“(Today was) pretty solid. I guess to shoot 4-under on a links course, you have to get a little lucky here and there,” said the Ladies European Tour winner. “But overall, solid out there. Lots of fairways, lots of greens. I putted pretty well as well. I like it when the wind is up because it means that you have to work with the ball, and you have to be a good ball-striker to get around, and I consider myself that. I like it when it gets a little tough. And I feel like my golf is in a good place at the moment. There’s obviously three more days, but I’m really, really proud of myself today.”

But while the low score was nice, Thursday in Ayrshire, Scotland, wound up being a tough one for Broch Estrup as her husband and caddie Kasper Broch Estrup injured himself walking from hole 16 to 17, so much so that Nicole had to find someone to carry for her the last two holes.

“Going from 16 to 17, I actually like twisted my foot half first. And I looked back, and Kasper was in complete pain, and he twisted his ankle really bad,” explained Broch Estrup. “He was trying to put pressure on his foot, and there was no chance he could. He was trying to just make it to the 17th tee box and couldn’t. So, luckily, one of the guys from the Danish golf team is here watching, and he was happy to step in the last few holes.”

A few hours after the incident, Broch Estrup announced on her Instagram story that Kasper would not be able to caddie for her in the second round due to a sprained ankle, a disappointing blow for the couple, who have rarely gotten to work together since Kasper became a full-time caddie on the DP World Tour. But Broch Estrup will do what she can to re-focus after this setback and will continue to work on keeping her head in the game, something that might be a touch more challenging now without her husband on the bag.

“My golf is in a good place if I can not get in my own way or get too scared. The things I’ve been struggling with in the past, it’s still there,” she said. “And there’s some certain shots out here, and especially left-to-right wind is not my favorite. So I really have to commit to the things. Today I did really good on that.”

By Nadeem Faisal Baiga