Celine Herbin, Sarah Kemp and Scottish rookie Sally Watson share the lead after the opening round of the ISPS Handa Ladies European Masters at Buckinghamshire Golf Club

Celine Herbin, Sarah Kemp and Scottish rookie Sally Watson share the lead after the opening round of the ISPS Handa Ladies European Masters.

Herbin, who started in the morning wave, offset a double at the tough par-3 12th and a bogey at the short 5th with seven birdies, including four in six holes from the 6th.

Kemp, meanwhile, compiled a bogey-free 67 – an impressive achievement given the firm and fast conditions at Buckinghamshire Golf Club in Denham.

Scoring was slightly higher in the afternoon wave, but Watson – who finished third at last week’s Allianz Ladies Slovak Open – carried that form over to England.

The Standford University graduate – who turned professional in June 2013 – bogeyed her first two holes, but battled back to reach the turn in 35.

She opened the back nine with two straight birdies and played her last four holes in three-under-par to take a share of the lead heading into day two.

Solheim Cup star Caroline Masson, American Amelia Lewis and Wales’ Becky Morgan sit in a tie for 4th on four under, with Cheyenne Woods and Charley Hull lurking precariously just three off the lead.

Defending champion Karrie Webb battled back with two late birdies to record a one-over-par 73, the same score as Northern Irishwoman Stephanie Meadow, who finished second last week at the US Women’s Open in her first tournament as a professional.

Four-time major champion Laura Davies in a stroke further back after an inauspicious opening 74.