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Gal (68) off to another good start at Lytham

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LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England – Sandra Gal was the early story the last time the Ricoh Women’s British Open was played at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.

She seized the first round lead back in ’09.

With another fast start Thursday in the championship’s return to the formidable links course, Gal is looking to keep her story going until Sunday’s finish.

Gal’s 4-under-par 68 moved her three shots off the lead.

“It’s nice to be back here in the same position on this beautiful golf course,” Gal said.

Gal, 33, was just a second-year pro when she made that fast start at Royal Lytham in ’09. She said she was surprised to find herself in that position and ended up tying for 33rd. She wasn’t so surprised this time around, not with the good work she has been doing with her new coach, Cameron McCormick. They’ve been working together since the spring.

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“Very thankful I met him and started working with him,” Gal said. “We just cleaned up my swing. No big changes. But, I think he gave me a little confidence, with left-hand low putting and then hitting consistently with my irons, with my tee shots.

“The last two, three months, I have been going upwards. I feel like I'm getting better every round.”

McCormick, whose students include Jordan Spieth and So Yeon Ryu, helped Gal develop the consistent ball flight she wanted.

“Really committed to hitting fades,” she said.

The left-hand low putting stroke, Gal said, also made a big impact.

“That has also has given me a lot of confidence,” she said.