Anne Van Dam leads the Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open after making a hot start in scorching heat at Club de Golf Terramar in Sitges.

The 22-year-old Dutchwoman carded a seven-under-par 65 and holds a one stroke lead over Celine Herbin, with Nicole Broch Larsen five-under after 10 holes.

Van Dam, the longest hitter on the Ladies European Tour with an average drive of 283 yards so far this season, said: “I played really well, especially my irons. I hit it close and had a lot of perfect numbers and perfect shots. Out of eight birdies, five of them were inside five feet, so that was easy.

“I’ve worked so hard on my iron game, because my driving game has been good, then I get to 120 metres and don’t give myself a chance, so we’ve really worked hard on that the last few months to dial that in and I’m really happy with how that went. Staying patient with my putting is probably the hardest thing, because I hit so many greens and get so many chances. Even today I felt that a few more could have dropped, but I’m not going to complain at all.”

Van Dam finished T37th in the recent Evian Championship, after posting a 30th place at the Lacoste Ladies Open de France the previous week.

The 2016 Xiamen International Open champion explained: “My coach, David (Dickmeiss), was there last week. I was driving the ball great in France but my iron game was absolutely horrific, so we worked on that in Evian and I could already see the improvement there. Today, I had perfect numbers and didn’t have to force anything or take off anything. I could stand really relaxed over the ball and hit my perfect number.

“Carlota (Ciganda) was hitting it well and we hit it almost the same length so it’s nice to play with her and look at some clubs she’s hitting. It’s good fun.”

Van Dam holds a three-stroke clubhouse lead over seven other players on four-under-par.