World No 7 Suzann Pettersen fired a second round two-under-par 70 in clear and breezy conditions at Dundonald Links on Saturday to take a two-stroke lead into the final round of the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open.
On six under par, the 34-year-old Norwegian is two strokes ahead of England’s Holly Clyburn, who shot a 67 – the lowest round of the tournament so far.
World No 2 Lydia Ko is alone in third place on three under par, with Dame Laura Davies and Celine Herbin a stroke further behind her.
Pettersen began the second day tied for the lead with Ko but gained a three-stroke advantage after the 18-year-old New Zealander bogeyed 12, 13 and 15. She then dropped another shot on 17 before closing with a birdie.
After coming home in level par, Pettersen said: “I’m pretty happy. It turned out to be a lot windier than we anticipated and the back nine is playing tough. It’s tough to get great chances and the front nine is more scoreable. Once you get to 12, it’s all into the wind, straight down and off the right, so it’s tough, but a good course with a lot of challenges. You’ve got to be on top of your game.”
Ko admitted that she found it difficult to stay positive after back to back bogeys on 12 and 13. “I played really well on the front nine, made a clumsy mistake on three but got myself together and played really solid.
“I made two bogeys in a row and that got to my head a little bit. All my putts were close but just not in and when that happens you don’t know what you’re going to shoot. I’m hitting the ball okay and the putts are on line so at the end of the day it’s very small margins.”
England’s Clyburn, who started at the 10th, made a late charge with five birdies, on the first, third, fifth, 15th and 18th holes.
The 24-year-old from Cleethorpes in Lincolnshire is known for playing well on tough courses as she won her maiden Ladies European Tour title, the Deloitte Ladies Open, in brutal conditions at The International as a rookie professional in 2013.
“I played very well. I had a fantastic four down the fifth, the par five. I was well left in the rubbish but with my strength managed to hack it out and make a birdie. Most players would have been happy with a six from there. That was the highlight of the day,” said Clyburn, ranked 22nd on the LET order of merit after nine tournaments played this season.
“It could have been even better as I missed a stupid two-footer for birdie on the 14th for birdie and coming in at seven, eight and nine I shaved the cup. I’ve played with Suzann earlier this season so I’ll be comfortable in that leading group and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Another player relishing the opportunity to contend is Davies, who was happy with a second successive 71, while a 73 kept Herbin in the mix and Klara Spilkova and Christine Wolf share sixth spot on one under par.
England’s Charley Hull and Australian Rebecca Artis had rounds of 68 and 69 respectively and share eighth place with Melissa Reid and Stacy Lee Bregman on level par.
Doncaster’s Rebecca Hudson added a second round 78 to her opening 75.
She started at the 10th and bogeyed the hole, a second coming at 14.
Holes 15 and 16 proved even more damaging, both yielding double bogeys, but she responded well to birdie 17.
Bogeys at two and four on her ‘inward’ nine were followed by a closing birdie at the ninth.