Nikki Campbell and Sarah Kemp were only two Australians to make the week-end of the RICOH Women’s British Open.
It was a very tough day for the large Aussie contingent on the challenging Royal Birkdale layout, however it was not so for American Mo Martin, who leads the major at the halfway point.
Martin has posted consecutive rounds of 69 to sit atop of the leaderboard at six-under-par and three clear of 2011 U.S. Women’s Open champion So Yeon Ryu and three-time LPGA Tour winner Beatrice Recari. South Korean Sun-Ju Ahn and Julieta Granada are a further shot back.
Campbell and Kemp are well off the pace at five-over-par and share 49th position. Campbell had a very up and down day, in her opening nine holes she had two pars, four birdies and three bogeys to go out in one-under-par 34. Her back nine was a little more consistent, with five pars, two bogeys and one bogey, which saw the Canberra golfer sign for an even par round of 72.
Kemp got off to a rocky start with a double bogey, however she hit back with a birdie on the third, before consecutive bogeys on the 5th, 6th and 7th holes, another bogey on the 9th saw her go out in 40, five-over-par. It was a better performance on the back nine, with seven pars and two bogeys. The NSW golfer eventually signed for a 79.
It was very disappointing news for seven time major champion Karrie Webb (79) and Stephanie Na (72). Both players finished on seven-over-par and missed the cut by one stroke. The cut was made at six-over par with 70 players making it through and will compete for their share of US$3million prizemoney.
Stacey Keating (78) finished at 8-over-par, while amateurs Su-Hyun Oh (77) and Minjee Lee (71) finished at 9-over and 10-over par respectively. Queenslanders Sarah Jane Smith and Bree Arthur finished well back and wont be playing the weekend.
Martin will never be one of the longest hitters on the LPGA Tour but she has been the most accurate drivers of the ball on Tour the past two seasons. That accuracy has been paying big dividends this week at Royal Birkdale. All week players have talked about the challenges that Royal Birkdale doles out but Martin has embraced the challenge.
The 31-year-old, who is in her third year on the LPGA Tour, came into this week like most other weeks on Tour with a plan of how to attack this golf course. The tightness of the fairways and the penalizing rough have played to Martin’s advantage and 5-foot-3 “Mighty Mo” has enjoyed what she’s seen from Royal Birkdale – ranking it among the top 5 courses she’s ever played.
“Every hole you have something to think about,” Martin said. “Every single shot you have something to think about. And then the wind gets a little bit tricky here. I’ve really been watching the flags because the layout of the course it subtly turns you into the wind or turns you away from the wind and you can’t necessarily feel it from some of the tee boxes, some of the approach shots. But there’s fairway there and there’s green there and that’s what I’m focusing on.”
Martin is seeking her first victory on the LPGA Tour but has three Symetra Tour victories on her resumé. She spent six years out on the Symetra Tour prior to earning her LPGA Tour card for the 2012 season at age 29.
Other notable players to also miss the cut were IK Kim, last week’s winner on the LET, American Michelle Wie and Scot Catriona Matthew.