Photograph courtesy of LET/Tristan Jones Photography
First round leader American Lauren Stephenson followed up her opening round of 66 with a superb 8-under par 64 to take the 36-hole lead at the Geoff King Motors Australian Ladies Classic at Bonville Golf Resort.
The talented 23-year old, who hails from Greenville in South Carolina finished her round in spectacular style today after looking likely to head into the final 36-holes trailing Korean star Ayean Cho.
After being bogeyless through 12 holes and cruising at 5 under par for the day, a mistake at the long par 4 13th hole cost Stephenson a double-bogey six before she stormed home, playing the last 5 holes in 5-under par which included an eagle on the par 5 finishing hole.
Stephenson was clearly delighted with her finish today, and that her swing has stood up to some changes she made at the end of 2019,
"The goal was to have fun this week and try to gain some confidence after the changes I made at the end of last year. Today I didnt look at any leaderboards I was just doing my own thing trying to have fun."
The American said that she has not played before with Cho but "has heard about her and watched her a bit on TV the last two weeks"
When asked about how she would approach being in the lead Stephenson said that she would try to keep doing what she has been doing and keep to her game plan.
The American is playing in her fourth professional tournament of 2020 in just her second year as a professional, and if she can keep up the kind of form she has shown the past two days surely that first professional win can not be far away.
Korean star Ayean Cho, who played in the morning wave of play today, matched Stephenson's round with a 64 and is lurking just one shot off the lead. The 19-year-old showed her class today and it was clear for all and sundry to see why she currently sits in 35th position in the Rolex Womens World Rankings.
The Korean also made eight birdies and an eagle in her round today, the only blemishes coming at the 13th and 17th holes where she dropped shots.
When Cho finished her round this morning she held a 6 shot lead over the field, but Stephenson's finish this afternoon means Cho will now be the chaser and not the chased in tomorrow's third round. .
For Cho, playing in the final group tomorrow will not be a new experience as she already boasts two wins and a hatful of top 10 and 20 finishes in her rookie season in 2019 on the Korean LPGA Tour. The youngster has clearly enjoyed her trip to Australia in 2020, at both the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open last week and ISPS Handa Vic Open the week prior Cho found herself at the pointy end of the leaderboard heading into the final round and will hope that she can draw on those experiences this weekend.
Australian amateur star Stephanie Kyriacou is the best of the Australians in the field so far this week. While being slightly overshadowed by the play of Stephenson and Cho the past two days, after fantastic rounds of 69 and 65 the youngster sits alone in third place at 10-under par just four shots off the lead.
England's Charlotte Thomas, Swede Linnea Strom and Finn Noora Komulainen all sit a tie for fourth place at -7, seven shots off the lead, while defending champion Marianne Skarpnord is in a tie for 14th place, 10 shots off the lead.
The 36 hole cut fell at 146, 2-over par.
Round 3 will get underway at Bonville Golf Resort Saturday morning at 7:15 am AEDT
For live scoring click HERE
For round 3 Tee-times click HERE
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