World no.3 Suzann Pettersen of Norway and Dewi Claire Schreefel of the Netherlands lead the field by a stroke following the second round of the Ladies Irish Open supported by Fáilte Ireland, at the Kileen Castle Club in Dunsany, Co. Meath.
Heavy rain, not to mention and thunder and lightning, caused the suspension of play at 6.10pm at Killeen Castle, though the round was eventually completed around 9pm. Some 68 players made the cut at +2.
A stunning course record of nine under par 63 took Pettersen to the top of the leader board at 10 under par early in the day, when luckily for her, she evaded the later horrendous underfoot conditions.
Her round included seven birdies and an eagle at the par-five 12th hole, but it could even have been a 59 according to her playing partner, Christina Kim.
The 30 yrs old Norwegian won the 2008 title at Portmarnock Links and is playing this week to qualify for The Solheim Cup, which will take place at the same venue from September 23-25.
“I’m now in a position where I can automatically qualify. I would have taken ten under total when I teed off this morning. The conditions were perfect, hardly any wind and I just figured out a few adjustments from how to play yesterday because it was a lot firmer on the bounce than it was last year”
“The par fives, you have got to try and take advantage of the par fives, especially if you hit good tee shots. There are short par fours, the greens are rolling good. There is nothing saying you can’t do it but nine under is always a good score.
“I made an eagle and then missed a six footer for eagle on the next par five, so it could easily have been two; but it can always be a few less.”
From an Irish perspective, the performance of the day was that of young 16 years old Lisa Maguire one of only two amateurs in the field (twin Leona being the other) with an excellent four under par, 68. It was another fine round from Lisa and she will have grounds for optimism, hoping to make a top three finish by close of play Sunday. Alas Ireland’s newest professional Danielle McVeigh was less fortunate on her professional debut, just missing the cut. She only turned Pro. On Monday 1st August commenting then: ““The time is right for me to progress and I have always wanted to turn pro. I am really excited about competing against some of the ladies top golfers in Europe on a regular basis and I look forward to improving my game to the standard where I will play in some of the best tournaments in the world.”
“I have had so much support from everyone in Ireland, especially my club, Royal County Down, the help and support I have received from the staff and members of the club have certainly contributed to my success.”
“I have also had amazing support from the ILGU, who have supported me since I joined junior coaching at the age of 14. Their support in sending me to tournaments has allowed me to test my game against the top amateurs in the world.”
Another Irish pro, Martina Gillen, formerly of the Beaverstown Golf Club but now also on the U.S Pro Tour circuit with great success is another of the Irish qualifiers.
Among the leaders entering Sunday’s final round at Kileen Castle is 26 years old Galway born, but now Boston-based Alison Walshe who arrived a few days early to sample the delights of her native land as she told LGPA Golf: “It feels great to be back in Ireland. I haven’t been back in almost eight years, so this is special to see family, as well as to show them the experience I’ve gained”. And see some of Ireland? “I will definitely try to take in some tourist trips and family time when available.
This past weekend, I was able to spend time with my family. I went to downtown Dublin to shop on Grafton Street and I went to Trinity College and saw the Book of Kells. Of course, I also spent some time in Temple Bar and I played golf with my uncle at a club called The Island in Dublin. Yesterday, I spent the
Day at the Guinness Brewery. It was a really great tour and experience to learn how Guinness is made and sold. I even got to pour a pint and have a taste test
Asked if there was anything else she particularly enjoyed, on her homecoming, a smiling Walshe replied: “Oh YES! The candy is phenomenal here! The chocolate is different and it’s so tasty! I find myself rushing to the nearest convenience store after meals and just devouring a candy bar. It’s not very attractive, but it gets the job done”. No doubt she will be sponsored by Failte Ireland or by Cadburys or Butlers, before long!
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