GEMMA Dryburgh carded a four-under-par 68 to claim a narrow lead after the opening round of the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco.

The Scot fired five birdies and a solitary bogey on the Blue Course at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam to finish a shot ahead of Wales’s Lydia Hall, Klara Spilkova, Suzann Pettersen and Nicole Garcia.

Playing partners Spilkova and Hall each carded six birdies and three bogeys, with Hall’s final dropped shot of the day coming on the ninth, her final hole.

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“At the start of the day I would have taken three under, but I’m a little disappointed to have bogeyed the last hole,” Hall said. “Klara and I both had 69 and kept spurring each other on.”

England’s Felicity Johnson and Annabel Dimmock were part of a large group on two under par which included home favourite Maha Haddioui, who had two birdies and 16 pars in a flawless 70.

Dryburgh, 23, said: “It’s obviously very early in the tournament so I’ll keep patient.”“I played really well and my putting was especially good. I only had 20 putts and I didn’t hit that many greens. I had a couple of up and downs.

“The greens are immaculate, they are rolling really well and if you hit it on the right line, they will go in.”