Photo courtesy of Photosport
Spanish star Belen Mozo will take a five-shot lead into the weekend after a course record eight-under par 64 including a hole-in-one on day two of the MCKAYSON New Zealand Women’s Open in Auckland.
Mozo bagged eight birdies and an eagle with a late double-bogey on the 17th denting an even more remarkable day at Windross Farm golf course. Mozo, who turned 29 this month, enjoyed a brilliant round including acing the par 3 13th hole when her seven iron approach landed just beyond the fringe and tracked straight into the hole.
Earlier rookie American Emily Tubert shot a seven-under 65 to move into second place on nine-under, sharing that with first-round joint leader Brooke Henderson (Canada) and Sweden’s Solheim Cup rookie Madelene Sagstrom.
Tubert was the only one of the three players tied for 2nd who played in the more difficult half of the draw, having shot a 2 under par round of 70 in the opening round in the much windier afternoon conditions.
Four players share fifth place on eight-under comprising Amy Boulden (Wales), Jing Yan (China), Mariajo Uribe (Colombia) and Thidapa Suwannapura (Thailand).
Republic of Korea’s Na Yeon Choi, Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg and Spain’s Beatriz Recari round out the top-10 on seven-under par.
The remarkable crowds that thronged to Windross Farm today enjoyed the fact that New Zealand’s golfing superstar Lydia Ko produced an outstanding 4-under 68 to move to 6-under for the tournament and a share of 12th place.
“When you score like this, everything seems so easy. I got perfect weather but you still have to perform well,” Mozo said.
“I played really easy golf and left myself very makeable putts. I struck the ball really well and overall I was in a very calm state of mind.”
She laughed off her perfect hole-in-one which the prize of an INFINITI car only up on the weekend.
“It is karma. The last hole-in-one I found out someone had got one just before me so I missed the prize. This one the car is for the weekend. It is my fifth hole-in-one in competition.”
The feeling prior to Thursday’s opening tee-off was that the newly bedded-in Windross Farm course east of Auckland would be tricky to negotiate, particularly if the wind blew.
Hometown favourite Ko’s second round 68 leaves her in contention buoyed on by crowds that the 20-year-old said were the biggest she had ever played in front of.
Overall she was delighted with her efforts.
“I made a few puts for birdies,” Ko said. “I missed a few too but I made a few more than I did yesterday. There are lot of positives, a lot of solid things in my game the last couple of days. Hopefully I can take that into the weekend.”
Canada’s Henderson followed a spectacular 7-under 65 with a solid 2-under par 70 to sit nine under par for the tournament.
The big mover of the day was Emily Tubert. The American took full advantage of the early conditions to fire a 7-under par 65 and surge to the clubhouse lead.
“It has been a rough year for me and I dislocated my shoulder,” said Tubert, who sits tied for second alongside Henderson and Sagstrom. “I guess it is all part of the learning process.
“I went into College very trusting and innocent and was broken with my experience and how I was treated – and I didn’t have my guard up. It has taken a long time to recover, which has been frustrating.”
Linking with new coach Kevin Craggs, who also coaches Catriona Matthew and Melissa Reid, had been crucial in turning her game around.
“All of a sudden there’s hope, a lot of excitement and purpose for what I am doing.
“It has been a long time since I have played good golf. It is nice to feel like this week I have hit refresh on my game and on my life.”
Republic of Korea’s Selin Hyun is the leading amateur on six-under par after her 7-under 65 today, with Canterbury amateur Amelia Garvey also safely through to the weekend on 3-under in a share of 35th place.
Su Oh and Sarah Jane Smith are the best of Australian players at 5 under par tied in18th place, with Sarah Kemp at -3 and Stacey Peters at -1.
Kiwis Hanee Song and Cathryn Bristow and Aussies Whitney Hillier and Katherine Kirk had an agonising wait to see if they would be playing on the weekend, fortunately they squeezed in making the cut on the number at 1 over par.
The 132-strong field this week is competing for the Bessie Fullerton-Smith Trophy along with a share of the NZ$1.85 million prizemoney on offer, the richest purse on offer for a golf event in New Zealand.
The 36 holes fell at 1 over par with 78 players making it through to the weekend.
Play will begin at 7:25 am tomorrow morning with the final group teeing off at midday.
Live scoring and results can be found at nzwomensopen.com
Watch out for all the news and stories on our website alpg.com.au and follow our social media pages Facebook (ALPG Official), Twitter (@ALPGTour) and Instagram (alpgtour)