Friday, March 19, 2010


Carin Koch leads by one from
Laing, Reid and Monke

Sweden’s Carin Koch grabbed a one stroke lead heading into the final round of the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco on Saturday.
She carded three birdies on a warm and humid afternoon at Royal Golf Anfa Mohammédia and didn’t drop a shot for a second successive round of 69.
Six-under on 138 after 36-holes, Koch is in the hunt for her fourth career title and first since the 2005 Corona Morelia Championship.
England’s Melissa Reid shot 71 and finished the day on 139, along with Germany’s Anja Monke, who had an impressive round of 68, and Musselburgh’s Vikki Laing, who shot 71.
Maria Verchenova of Russia, the first round leader, carded a 73 and slipped back into a share of fifth at 140 with Ayrshire’s Pamela Feggans (69), pictured above in Morocco by Fraser Munro, England’s Florentyna Parker (69), Spain’s Emma Cabrera Bello (70) and Christel Boeljon of the Netherlands (68).
South African Ashleigh Simon had a tournament low round of 66 for a share of 10th with Australian Stephanie Na and Henrietta Zuel, finishing three strokes behind the leader.
Koch, who has a cold, is playing in her first tournament of the year and will play full time on the Ladies European Tour in 2010 for the first time since 1994.
She has been practising on the driving range in snow storms in Sweden over the winter and putting on a mat in her living room.
Her dedication paid off today when she birdied the first, second and sixth holes, then reeled 12 successive pars for a one-stroke advantage over the field.
She said: “I played really well on the front nine and beginning of the back nine. I didn’t like the way I played the last few holes but maybe I was getting tired. I made some good putts in the beginning but there were a lot of chances I didn’t make, kind of like yesterday.
“I didn’t think I would be after hitting balls in the snow all winter. It’s not really what I expected when I came here but it’s always great to be in contention and I’ve been working on my swing and mentally. I’ll keep doing that tomorrow and try to play my best golf.”
Reid, the leading rookie on the LET in 2008, started from the 10th and held a one-stroke lead at seven-under-par after 16 holes played. She was clearly frustrated after dropping shots at her last two holes, the eighth and the ninth.
Melissa said: “I am a little annoyed about the last two holes. I hit a bad shot into eight and didn’t have a great lie in the bunker and then on the ninth I misclubbed as I didn’t take into account my adrenaline. It’s a bit annoying but I’ve still shot under par and I’m one off the lead so I just need a low one tomorrow now.”
Reid is targeting a maiden Ladies European Tour victory, as is Laing, although the Scot has been a winner on the Futures Tour in America, while Monke is aiming for her third after wins in France and Dubai in 2008.
The final round of the €275,000 tournament begins at 8.50am local on Saturday and the leading trio of Melissa Reid, Vikki Laing and Carin Koch tee off at 10.30am. There will be a prize giving ceremony for the leading three players on Saturday afternoon, followed by a joint prize giving on Sunday with the male winner of the Hassan II Golf Trophy on the European Tour.
SCOTSWATCH. Vikki Laing is beginning to realise as a professional the great promise she showed as an amateur on the US college circuit and earlier as winner of the Scottish girls' title a record-breaking four years in a row in the late 1990s. Pamela Feggans also played the American college circuit. She had a 69 for 140 today. In all five Scots qualified for the final round, the cut eliminating players with two-round totals of 149 or worse.
Krystle Caithness (71), Lynn Kenny (71) and Carly Booth (73) all made it through with a couple of shots to spare on the same mark, 146.
For 17-year-old Carly from Comrie to make the cut in her first tournament as a pro must be a satisfying achievement which, unfortunately, was not shared by Kylie Walker, who had a pair of 81s for 162. The narrow fairways and punishing rough if you missed them added up to the last kind of course the big-hitting Buchanan Castle player would have chosen for her pro debut. She will find ones more to her liking, where her strength off the tee will tell.
Clare Queen was the second Scot to miss the cut. The Carrick at Loch Lomond player had a pair of 78s for 156.