Thursday, December 06, 2007


France’s Gwladys Nocera fired a second successive three-under-par 69 for a six-under-par tally of 138, giving her a five-stroke lead at the halfway stage of the EMAAR-MGF Ladies Masters at the Eagleton Resort, Bangalore in India.
Nocera, who shared the first-round lead with Swedes Anna Tybring and Lotta Wahlin, led by five over four players after today's second round.
England’s Trish Johnson shot a 71 to tie for second position on one-under-par with Thailand’s Titiya Plucksataporn (71), South Korea’s Eun Kyoung Lee (72) and Spain’s Marta Prieto (70). Nocera, who claimed her fourth Ladies European Tour title at the KLM Ladies Open in June, emerged well clear of a chasing pack of five players after nine holes in her second round, with back-to-back birdies at the fourth and fifth holes.
She then played the back nine in one-under-par 35 with two further birdies and a bogey at the 17th hole. Despite a sizeable lead, Nocera was not taking anything for granted. She said: “It could be better but it’s getting there. My irons can be really good but I pulled a few and I’m just going to go to the range now to fix that. I need to shoot really low tomorrow just to make it easier for Saturday.”
Holing an 18 foot birdie putt at the 473yd par-5 fourth hole got the ball rolling for Nocera on a cool and breezy day in southern India. At the next, a 374yd par-4, she rolled in a 30-footer, before a wedge to five feet set up another birdie at the 512yd par-5 10th.
A three-wood into the right hand rough followed by a pitching wedge into the left greenside bunker at the par-4 17th led to Nocera’s only bogey of the day. She played an excellent sand shot to four feet but the putt slipped by.
She pulled a shot back at the 18th when she chipped in for birdie with a sand wedge from about 15 feet. It was at the same hole that she almost holed her second shot the previous day.
“I thought my second shot was going in the bunker,” said Nocera, who hit 15 greens and had 30 putts in her second round. “I’m starting to really like it! It’s a nice hole. You have to hit a nice drive and then the second shot is nice because you are higher than the green and you can see the green really well and I like that. It’s not easy but I guess that is the way to make it easy.
“I think I need to shoot another good round on Friday but, like I always say, I just want to play for myself and I’m not going to look at the leaderboard.”
Prieto, for whom India represents her penultimate chance to register a long awaited Ladies European Tour victory in 2007, was a runner-up at the 2004 KLM Ladies Open in Holland. She suggested that this week provided the perfect opportunity to brush up on competitive practise. “It’s different playing at home from being in a competition,” she said. “I was just trying to get a good rhythm and perhaps that’s why I played well. I wasn’t thinking about a good score. Good feelings, that’s it.”
Johnson, who won her 18th title at the BMW Ladies Italian Open in May, is looking to improve on her current New Star Money List ranking of fourth with a victory in India this week. Victory would also bring her closer to earning Life Membership of the LET.
She said: “I was pretty consistent to be honest. I drove the ball well: hit a few greens, made a few putts. There’s no point complaining about the ones that you miss. The last few holes were a bit disappointing. I got to three-under and had hardly hit a bad shot and just gave a couple away from nowhere.
“I will just to try and catch Gwladys I suppose. It won’t be easy because she’s playing very well but let’s hope she’s holed her fair share of putts already. Hopefully I can make some over the weekend.”
Meanwhile, Austria’s Eva Steinberger and joint overnight leader Wahlin shared sixth place on level par, with joint overnight leader Tybring falling back to seven-over after an 82.
Elsewhere Lee, who usually competes on the Korean Ladies Professional Golf Tour and is playing in India on an invitation, holed her second shot for an eagle at the 345yd par-4 17th hole, which rocketed her into contention.
Of the star attractions, England’s Laura Davies lies in a share of 37th position on seven-over-par after adding a 74 to her opening 77. All 71 players in the field head into the final two rounds as there is no halfway cut at the tournament.
Clare Queen (The Carrick at Cameron House) had a second-round 72 to be in joint 16th position after two rounds on 147. The Scot birdied the long fourth and the long seventh before dropping her first shot of the outward half at the ninth. Bogeys at the 13th and 16th were partially compensated for with a birdie at the 17th.
Kylie Walker (Buchanan Castle), one of the two Scottish amateurs playing by special invitation, improved to a share of 34th position on 150 after a creditable 73. She had only three deviations from par on a solid card - a birdie at the long 15th and bogeys at the seventh and 13th.
Michele Thomson (McDonal Ellon) improved by three strokes with a 79 for 161 to occupy 68th position. Michele was out in 40 with bogeys at the first, second, fourth and eighth. She went five over par with a bogey at the 10th before her first birdie of the tournament at the 13th. She then double-bogeyed the short 14th and dropped her last shot at the 15th.
Par 144 (2 x 72)
138 G Nocera (France) 69 69.
143 T Plucksataporn (Thailand) 72 71, Bo Ri Lee (Korea) 71 72, T Johnson (England) 73 70, M Prieto (Spain) 73 70.
144 E Steinberger (Austria) 74 70, L Wahlin (Sweden) 69 75.
145 S Arricau (France) 72 73, M Rigon (Italy) 73 72, S Walker (England) 70 75, Lisa Hall (England) 72 73.
146 A Moltke-Leth (Denmark) 71 75, K-M Juul (Denmark) 73 73, Becky Brewerton (Wales) 76 70, V Zorzi (Italy) 75 71.
147 C Queen (The Carrick at Cameron House) 75 72, V Lagoutte-Clement (France) 72 75, M Beautell (Spain) 77 70, M Eberl (Grermany) 76 71 9jt 16th).
Other scores:
148 J Head (England) 77 71.
149 R Coakley (Ireland) 73 76, K Matharu (England) 76 73, N C Booth (England) 73 76.
150 K Walker (Buchanan Castle) (amateur) 77 73 (jt 34th).
151 Lydia Hall (Wales) 76 75, Laura Davies (England) 77 74.
152 F More (England) 80 72, H Kavanagh 78 74.
153 F Johnson (England) 78 75, D Masters 77 76, K Taylor (England) 75 78, S Heath (England) 74 79, K S Taylor (England) 76 77.
154 J Clingan (England) 76 78.
156 C Coughlan (Ireland) 79 77.
159 G Simpson (England) 82 77.
161 M Thomson (McDonald Ellon) (amateur) 82 79 (68th).