European No.1 Lee-Anne Pace.
South African Lee-Anne Pace and France’s Celine Herbin share the lead at the halfway point in the Open de España at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid.
After a scorching day with temperatures of 38C, the duo sits at eight-under-par, with rookie professionals Jia Yun Li of China and Isabella Ramsay of Sweden two shots behind.
The large Australian contingent isn’t having the best of weeks, with only six, half of them, making the cut in the Euro 350,000 event. Rebecca Artis (72) is leading the way, she is eight shots back and tied for 32nd.
American and first round leader Cheyenne Woods carded a 78 to drop back to even par with Artis.
The 2010 LET money list winner Pace powered into the lead with a 69, containing four birdies and a solitary bogey. “I played pretty solid: 15 greens today. I didn’t think I struck the ball as well as yesterday but still 15 greens, 15 birdie chances. When I missed it I only just missed the green. I’m just going through a really good time with my golf,” said the current European number two.
She took the heat in her stride and added: “There are some really hot spots you walk through. When the breeze is there it’s fine but sometimes, like on the ninth tee, that’s hot!”
Herbin fired three birdies on the front nine and two on the back, with a bogey on the 15th in a second-round 68.
The 2011 Spanish Open winner Melissa Reid and Frenchwoman Valentine Derrey share fifth on five-under-par, with a further four players a stroke further behind: Klara Spilkova, Tania Elosegui, Joanna Klatten and Mikaela Parmlid.
Nikki Campbell (72), defending champion Stacey Keating (71) and Alison Whitaker (74) are the next best placed Aussies at one-over. They are part of a large group tied for 37th position. Bree Arthur (71) was the final Aussie to make it through, she is tied for 48th at two-over-par.
The cut was made at three-over and 70 players will tee it up on Saturday when temperatures aren’t meant to be in the mid 30s again. Unfortunately for New Zealand’s Cathryn Bristow and West Australian Whitney Hillier missed by one. Kristie Smith (+5), Karen Lunn (+5), Nikki Garrett (+6), Stephanie Na (+9) and Sarah King (+9) will also be planning for next week.