Swede Caroline Hedwall had a hole-in-one and an eagle on her way to the top of the leaderboard at the ISPS HANDA Women’s Australian Open in Melbourne.
The 24-year-old carded a second round seven-under-par 65 at Victoria Golf Club on a calm but cloudy day to go with her opening round of 68 to lead at 11-under-par.
The Solheim Cup star will take a one stroke advantage into the weekend over World No. 2 Suzann Pettersen, with Australian Amateur champion Minjee Lee a further shot behind in outright third.
Another Swede Anna Nordqvist had the round of the day, firing a course-record eight-under-par 64 to move into a share of fourth position at 8-under-par with Kiwi sensation Lydia Ko and England’s Holly Clyburn. Five players, including the American trio of Jessica Korda, Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel are a further shot back and right in the mix.
Starting on the 10th, Hedwall round got off to a solid start with five straight pars, before she rolled in a 12 foot birdie putt on the short par 4, 15th. She then recorded her fourth career hole-in-one, on the par 3, 16th when she holed a “soft” seven iron. Another birdie on the 18th saw her go out in four-under 32.
It was an indifferent front nine, but Hedwall finished birdie, eagle, and birdie to come home in 33.
“I'm very happy with how I'm striking the ball and my putting is getting better and better, so I definitely feel like I have a lot of confidence,” Hedwall said.
On her ace, the Swede said “Yesterday I hit a full 7-iron over the green and it was basically the same yardage today, so I hit a soft one and it covered the pin all the way and then I just saw it bounce once and hit the pin. But I didn't see it go in.”
Pettersen, who is projected to become World No.1 if she finishes outright second or wins this week, was pleased with an indifferent day by her standards.
“Today was not the best day, but when I had a good chance I kind of executed,” Pettersen said.
For current Australian Amateur champion, Lee, who finished runner-up in last week’s Volvik RACV Ladies Masters, it continues her excellent recent form.
The Western Australian played the back nine in even par before an eagle on the first hole and three more birdies on the front nine left her with a 67.
“Yeah, I'm in good form. I'm confident in my game and I'm playing good.”
The cut was made at even-par and 76 players will be vying for their share of the $US1.2million purse over the weekend.
The third round of the ISPS HANDA Women’s Australian Open begins on Saturday.