15-year-old amateur sensation Lydia Ko is in prime position to capture her national open, the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open presented by Christchurch tomorrow.
Ko shares the lead at six-under-par with South Korean Seon Woo Bae. On a day when conditions were much more conducive to low scoring, Ko posted a four-under-par 68 which included an eagle, three birdies and one bogey.
Bae joined Ko at the top late in the day when she fired a course record eight-under-par 64 at the Clearwater Golf Club. Bae’s round included no less than nine birdies, with her only blemish coming at the par 4 7th where she recorded a bogey.
Sitting just one back of the pair is Italy’s Giulia Sergas (68), who will be looking to post her first professional victory. It would be a sweet revenge after Sergas was penalised for slow play late in the second round two years ago at Pegasus Golf Club when she was leading after two rounds. Sergas didn’t recover for the final day and Kristie Smith came from well back to win.
Australians are right in the mix to keep the title in Aussie hands. Joint first round leader Nikki Campbell (71) leads the charge just two back at four-under-par. While Stacey Keating continues to perform well this ALPG season, she posted a solid round of 68 to move to three-under for the tournament and shares fifth position with American Amelia Lewis (68), South Korean Min Sun Kim (68) and Spain’s Belen Mozo (69).
Another 14 players are under par and in contention if they can go low in the final round.
Ko is happy with way she is playing, “I guess I’ve been playing it pretty good, I’m just hoping I can play the way I’ve played the last two days.”
The talented New Zealander admits she will be nervous heading into the final round, “They will be there, but you know, I just have to control my nerves.”
Bae, who opened with a two over par 74, enjoyed being out of the spotlight, her remarkable round was one better than the seven under par 65 shot by Australian Katherine Hull in the inaugural championship in 2009.
The 18-year-old has strong links with Christchurch. The Korean has been in golfing camps in the city for the past four years at nearby Harewood Golf Club and this year for the past two months at Terrace Downs.
“I am very pleased. It is my best score ever. It is nice to be in Christchurch. It is like my other home because I have been here so much,” Bae said.
“I made a lot of putts today. It was the best I have putted before.”
Sergas, the Italian who has finished top 10 in the event, was pleased with her second round effort.
“My long game was the key to my scoring today,” said Sergas. “I was hitting the ball really long and it set up a few opportunities I really feed off [playing partner] Nikki [Campbell]…we had a lot of fun out there.”
Campbell added: “I didn’t feed off her because she was always 100m ahead of me. I am really happy to be in contention and I will be going out to put some pressures on the leaders tomorrow.”
Another highlight today is a hole in one scored by Anne Lise Caudal on the 16th hole. This is the second hole in one of the tournament, after Karin Sjodin did the same on the 16th.
First round co-leaders with Campbell, Sarah Oh and Tamara Johns did not play as well on day two. Johns posted a 75 and is tied for 22nd, while Oh is a further shot back and tied for 28th position.
The cut was made at three over and 56 players will tee it up and play for their share of Euro 200,000 on offer.
Some of the bigger names to miss the cut include Swedes Sophie Gustafson and Anna Nordqvist and American Angela Stanford.