Swede Linnea Strom opened a three shot lead despite carding one-over par 73 during the second round of the Magical Kenya Ladies European Tour Open at Vipingo Ridge.
Strom shot one over par on the front nine after dropping shots on the par-3 number four and a double bogey on number 8 but a pair of birdies on the second and seventh holes was enough to minimize the damage. A level par round on the back nine after a birdie on the turn and a bogey on number 14 earned her the healthy lead ahead of the energy-sapping 36 holes weekend contest.
“We didn’t have as much wind on the front nine, but I couldn’t get it going. Overall, I feel happy with where my game is at though I just didn’t get the scoring as good today. I thought the pins were a bit closer to the edge today, but the greens and fairways continue to be firm, so you have to think one more time before you hit,” said Strom.
Spain’s Nurria Iturrioz moved to second after a fine run on the back nine which produced four birdies saw her move 10 places up the leaderboard. A poor finish that saw the Spaniard drop shots on number 16,17 and 18 slowed sown her charge but she will be relieved going into the final rounds three shots adrift.
Michelle Thomson from Scotland shot a jaw-dropping six-under par 66, the round of the day, to get into a four-way tie in third position with Sophie Hausmann, Becky Morgan and Smilla Soenderby. Thomson, the only player in the field to play a bogey-free round, rolled in six birdies including five on the back nine.
Day one runners-up Emma Grechi dropped five places down the leaderboard after shooting five over par 76 while defending champion Esther Henseleit kept her hopes of retaining the title alive after a one over par 73 round moved her to position 10 on three over-par gross. A good run of five birdies and four bogeys on the tough-playing Vipingo course was enough to keep her in contention.
South Africa’s Lee-Anne Pace carries Africa’s after moving into top 10 today after carding one over par 73 for +3 gross. She is one shot better than Eswatini’s Nobuhule who had a decent run on the front nine where she birdied number 2, 4, 5 and the difficult par-3 number 8.
Home players Mercy Nyanchama, Naomi Wafula, Faith Chemutai and Bhavi Shah bowed out of the tournament after failing to keep pace with the visitors.
Nyanchama was the highest placed home player at position 74 after shooting a successive seven over par 79 today for +14 gross. Wafula finished six strokes further on +20 gross while Shah finished 93rd (+36) ahead of compatriot Chemutai in position 94 on +38 gross.
Only four players in the field of 94 managed sub-par rounds today as the cutline dropped to +11 gross. Sixty-two players will proceed to the weekend rounds where they will contest for the Kshs 38.8 million prize purse