Friday, September 21, 2018


Van Dam leads by four at halfway in Spain

SITGES, SPAIN: Anne Van Dam holds a four-shot lead at the halfway stage of the Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open after a second successive round of seven-under-par 64.
The 22-year-old Xiamen International Open champion carded a bogey-free round including seven birdies to sit at 14-under-par at the spectacular sea-side Terramar golf club in Sitges.
A pair of 65s for Spain’s Carmen Alonso and Germany’s Caroline Masson put them into joint second with overnight leader Celine Herbin from France.
“It was really nice to play with Carlota (Ciganda) and Anna (Nordqvist),” said Van Dam. “For me as a young player, I look up to them and see them on TV. To play alongside them for me is a lot of fun. I tried to learn a few things although I played really well. There are still 36 holes to go but the way I am swinging it now, I’m quite confident going into the weekend and looking forward to it.”
Another long hitter, Alonso also had seven birdies to get into contention for her first LET win, following her breakthrough victory on the LET Access Series three months ago.
The 34-year-old from Valladolid, in her 14th year on tour, has long been regarded as one of the most naturally talented players in women’s golf and she has renewed self-belief this season, thanks to a virtual reunion with her former coach, Jonathan Yarwood, whom she contacted via Facebook in September last year. They have been working together through video calls, but she has planned to go and see him in the United States next week for the first time in 14 years.
Masson, the 29-year-old former South African Open champion, was also feeling confident after mixing eight birdies with two bogeys. She said: “It wasn’t the perfect round of golf and I still made a few mistakes but I kept it together nicely and played nicely. I think it’s one of those golf courses where you almost feel like you have a birdie chance on every hole. Once you get into a rhythm and hole a few putts you can make a lot in a row.”
Herbin (71) had a topsy turvy round which started with two bogeys and ended in symmetrical fashion, although there was a magical spell in between, where she picked up four shots in as many holes, including an eagle at the 13th.
“I didn’t begin well but I came back little by little,” she said. “It was a strong section where I went birdie, eagle, par, birdie and almost birdie again. Then I finished badly with two bogeys. If I’d had minus four or five, I’d be happy, but I’m not going to complain about being minus nine after two rounds.”
Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist and Klara Spilkova from the Czech Republic had matching 64s – the joint lowest scores of the day with Van Dam – to share fifth with Indian Aditi Ashok (68) on eight-under-par.
Nordvist had a run of six birdies from the 10th, but ended with three pars in the Spanish sunshine, while Spilkova had five birdies over the same six holes.
Ashok is in contention, but felt she could do better. She said: “Today my putter was ice cold but it’s been okay. I’ve played a lot of golf in the last few weeks so I’m sure it will come tomorrow or the day after.”
The final two rounds will be televised live from 13:00-16:00 local time and will also be available to watch live via the LET website in multiple countries, including in the UK.
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