nicole garcia

Alan Gray is a golf writer and editor, who covers golf news around the world.

South African golfer Nicole Garcia playing in Dar Es Salam, Morocco, leads the Ladies European Tour’s Lalla Meryem Cup by two strokes.

The 27-year-old had a 4-under-par 68 first round and she won that stage by 13 shots.

Garcia is playing on deep Kikuyu grass, a surface that creates some surprises for golfers not used to its special qualities.

Garcia’s bogey-free round put her ahead of Stacy Lee Bregman, also from South Africa, and two Germans, Laura Fuenfstueck and Isa Gabsa.

Although she is a long way from home, she said afterwards that the kikuyu grass made her feel right at home, and nothing generates a positive result like a home team advantage.

This tournament is being held at the same times as the Mens European tours Hassaan Trophy. Earlier in the week, the ladies and men had a friendly warmup competition. The Women played on the blue course and the men took the red course.

Before this tournament, Garcia had only played in two others, so she was a little rusty and made an error at the end of the warmup, ending up T62. She did say she was happy with that because she made the cut, and she was expecting to better – and she has.