Lydia Hall of Wales, looking for her first top-five finish on the Ladies European Tour, shot a 5-under 67 Thursday to take a one-shot lead over Anna Nordqvist of Sweden in the second round of the Dubai Ladies Masters.
Michelle Wie, slightly limping at times because of a bad back, fell further off the pace, carding a 72 to sit six shots back after missing several birdie putts. She is tied for 16th plave at 1-under 143.
2010 DUBAI LADIES MASTERS
The Dubai Ladies Masters is the season-ending event on the Ladies European Tour.
The season-ending event on the Ladies European Tour also typically draws a handful of top LPGA Tour players, with Wie joined by Christina Kim, In-kyung Kim and Alexis Thompson. Christina Kim is tied for seventh at 3-under 141 after rounds of 73 and 68, while In-kyung Kim is tied for 20th at even-par 144. Thompson is tied for 43rd at 3-over 147.
Hall, whose father played for the Wales rugby team, was in eighth place after the first round and wasn’t expected to make a run at the leaderboard. But she hit a 31 on the front nine, including five birdies, to move to the top at the season-ending tournament.
She went into the water on the ninth hole and then three-putted on No. 10 for another bogey before making birdies on her final two holes to regain the lead at 7-under 137.
“I just played really solid, approaches within 15 feet on the front nine,” said the 23-year-old Hall, who is ranked 396th in the world. “I was really pleased. I made a couple of mistakes on 9 and 10, and three-putted on 10. I kind of refocused and moved onto 11 and made a good putt and kept doing it.”
Wie could be seen limping slightly on the back nine but insisted that her back problems, which have been bothering her for the past few weeks, should go away once she gets some rest. She withdrew from last month’s Lorena Ochoa Invitational because of the injury, but said she expects to be fine at the start of next year.
“I’m in survival mode right now. Hopefully I’ll go out there and grind it out in the next few days,” she said. “I’ve just got to get my irons closer. I’m not leaving myself a lot of birdies putts, makable ones.”
The 23-year-old Nordqvist made four birdies in a bogey-free round of 68 to sit one shot ahead of Danish veteran Iben Tinning, who has said she will retire after this tournament.
Tinning bogeyed the last two holes to lose a share of the lead, but remains in the hunt for a sixth career tour victory and first since 2005. Struggling with a long-standing hip injury, the 36-year-old Tinning said it would be “indescribable” to win in her final tournament.
“I’m not saying I don’t feel anything out there and definitely going for more pins,” Tinning said. “Why be a chicken at your last event?”
Three players are a further shot back at 4 under, including Russia’s Maria Verchenova who needs a top-20 finish to retain her European Tour card. She is tied with England’s Melissa Reid and Norway’s Marianne Skarpnord.
Meanwhile, England’s Laura Davies all but conceded the Order of Merit for the top women’s golfer in Europe to South Africa’s Lee-Anne Pace after shooting a 73 to go to 4 over for the tournament. Davies needs to finish in the top two to overtake Pace, regardless of where Pace finishes.
“I didn’t play well again today. The timing is all out,” said Davies, who complained of fatigue after the first day. “The tournament is over for me as far as I’m concerned. As for winning it or getting second place, which we were trying to do, it’s not going to happen, so obviously I am disappointed.”
Pace, who shot a 72 to remain 1 over for the tournament, said the fact that Davies is unlikely to catch her for the Order of Merit takes some of the pressure off heading into the weekend.
“It makes me a little more confident going into the weekend,” Pace said. “Now, I can sit back, relax and play the golf course and be at the top. I’ll put in a bit of a chase tomorrow for the leaders and hopefully they can see my name on the board.”
Monica Christiansen of Denmark was disqualified after she signed for the wrong score on the fifth hole.