22 Aug 2020 | Professional golf |

Swede Holmqvist holds firm at Troon

by Contributor

Holmqvist image
Dani Holmqvist drives at 18 during her fine second round at Royal Troon. Photo: R&A Media

Sweden’s Dani Holmqvist impressively defied the weather conditions to claim the second-round lead at the AIG Women’s Open at Royal Troon.

On another blustery day on the Ayrshire links, accompanied by heavy rain showers, the 32-year-old battled to a superb score of one-under-par 70 after four birdies and three bogeys.

Holmqvist is the only player under par at the halfway stage of the first women’s major championship of the year, having only qualified via last week’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open.

The Swede, who has fought back to fitness after a golf cart crash in 2018, sits at one-under-par, a stroke clear of American Austin Ernst and Sophia Popov from Germany.

Ernst claimed three birdies on her front-nine on her way to a 70, with Popov finishing with a birdie for a 72 late in the day to join her at level par. A five-strong group of players share fourth place on one-over-par, featuring Australia's Minjee Lee, Jasmine Suwannapura, Lydia Ko, Emily Kristine Pedersen and Lindsey Weaver, who is impressing without the use of caddie.

Lee signed for a superb 69 after two closing birdies, while Ko added a 71 as she chases a third Major title. The New Zealander, who became the youngest world number one aged only 17, tied third at the 2015 Women’s Open.

World number four Nelly Korda is well-placed at two-over-par after a second 72, while Inbee Park, who won the 2015 event at Turnberry, again showed her love for links golf as she carded a 69 to move into contention on four-over-par. Home favourite Catriona Matthew slipped to five-over.

It proved a difficult day for overnight leader Amy Olson, who followed up her opening 67 with a 10-over-par 81. Fellow American Marina Alex also struggled, starting the day in a tie for second place but dropping to seven-over-par after a 79.

The cut mark for the top-65 players and ties fell at nine-over-par. Defending champion Hinako Shibuno dropped out on 12-over, with leading names Charley Hull, Brooke Henderson, Stacy Lewis and Laura Davies also missing out on the weekend.

“I definitely enjoy the conditions," said Holmqvist. "This week and last week, it's just two different weeks from anything else out of the year. I grew up playing in the (Women’s) Amateur and also played the Helen Holm (Scottish Open Stroke Play) at this course. This is different, but I enjoy it. I’ll just stick to my game plan. You can't really do more on this course and with these conditions; just trying to pick a line and pick a target.”

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