Friday, December 14, 2007


England’s Lisa Hall, pictured right, took the halfway lead at the Dubai Ladies Masters with a one-shot lead over compatriot Laura Davies today.
Hall added a three-under-par 69 to her first round of 67 over the Emirate’s Majlis Course for an eight-under-par total. She carded six birdies and three birdies in hot conditions.
“The best part was that I hit a lot of shots close,” said Hall, who finished by knocking in a 2ft birdie putt at the ninth hole.
“It has been a great year for me. Just to be playing and competing: I’ve won twice and I’ve played a lot of good golf. Right now I’m enjoying playing, I’m enjoying competing and it’s nice to have had a couple of good rounds behind me.”
The 2007 Northern Ireland Ladies Open and Nykredit Masters champion, who also won the 1996 Welsh Open, took a year off in 2005 after losing her playing privileges on both the LPGA and Ladies European Tours.
She returned to play on the LET after a five-year absence at the 2006 Swiss Open where she finished third and then went on to earn her full card for 2007. Now she claims to be playing the best golf of her life.
The 40-year-old from Stoke-on-Trent - Lisa Hackney that was - finished third in the inaugural Indian Ladies Masters last week in Bangalore and she now has a chance to become the LET’s first triple tournament winner of 2007.
On her current form, she said: “It’s down to a lot of things, too many to list. A good caddy (Mardi Lunn), good fortune, good work, a lot of effort, perseverance, enjoyment, perspective ... a lot of things go into playing good golf and I’m glad that I’ve learnt that ... to be able to play the golf I’m playing now. It’s been a long journey.”
Laura Davies, who claimed her 68th title in Austria in September, finished with three birdies in a row for a 70 to sit one shot behind Hall on seven-under-par. The seven-time European No. 1 carded five birdies and three bogeys and said: “It was a shaky old start but nice to finish with three birdies. We had a good fun day. Trish (Johnson) had a hole-in-one which was nice so she is going to buy the drinks now.”
Johnson aced the par-3 seventh hole with a six-iron from 160yd, which contributed to a round of 72 and a share of 10th position on two-under.
Overnight leader Louise Stahle, who carved a course record 64, eight-under-par in the first round, followed up with a 74 to be on six-under-par after 36 holes. She shares third with Italy’s Veronica Zorzi, who had a 68.
Stahle remained in contention for her first title at the halfway stage of the tournament despite a double bogey 7 at the par-5 10th hole, which she played as her first. “It was kind of a rough start. I got it back on 11 and 12 though,” said the 22-year-old from Lund, who is well placed to scoop the LET’s rookie honours on Sunday.
“I am just going to try and be a little bit more aggressive with the putts over the next two days. That’s what I did the first day. There is a lot more golf to be played. I am definitely going for it.
Germany’s Anja Monke shot 68 and was in fifth position on five-under-par, while the defending champion, Annika Sorenstam of Sweden, carded a 70 and shared sixth place with Denmark’s Iben Tinning, who had a 68.
Glamour girl Natalie Gulbis from the United States shot rounds of 77 and 75 for a 36-hole total of eight-over-par and missed the halfway cut by a stroke, as it fell to 69 players on seven-over-par. England’s Kiran Matharu also missed the cut after rounds of 78 and 74.


Catriona Matthew is sharing 10th place on two-under-par 142 at the halfway stage after matching the par of 72 today. The North Berwick player bogeyed the second and eighth in a two-over-par outward half of 37. She birdied two long holes - the 10th and 18th - in a bogey-free inward nine of 35.

Clare Queen dropped back to joint 40th position on four-over-par 148 after a four-over 76. She shed shots at regular intervals in four-over 39 for the first nine holes, bogeying the first, fourth, eighth and ninth. A steader inward half saw only two variations from par: a birdie 4 at the long 10th and a bogey at the 12th.