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SCANDINAVIANS WIN WEATHER BATTLE IN HOLLAND

 

Blustery conditions met the competitors in the second round of the 100,000 Mexx Sport Open at Kennemer GC. But two Scandinavians, Iben Tinning from Denmark and Norwegian Tour rookie Suzann Pettersen survived a tough day to lead on five under par.

England's Diane Barnard posted a second round 71 to add to her opening 69 on
the windswept links to sit one shot back on four under par alongside Karine
Icher from France, who returned a second consecutive two under 70.

Joint first round leader Gina Scott from New Zealand fired a one over 73 to move back to three under, with Australian Catherine Knight carding an equal best of the day 68 to join her Antipodean colleague.

Hopes of a Low Countries winner rest with Judith Van Hagen from Eindhoven,
who is two under par alongside Belgium's Valerie van Ryckeghem, who rattled
off second 71, which included a double bogey six at the final hole.

Pettersen carded birdies at the third, sixth, 16th and 18th to move into contention for her second win of her year, despite not swinging at her best in the 35 miles-an-hour wind off the North Sea coastline.

"I am slicing it around," laughed Pettersen, the French Open winner in June.
"I have to start all my shots to the left to get it back into the fairway and when the wind is off the left, I have to start it so far left, it scares me!

"I am playing with my miss-hits and I am chipping and putting well to score, but I don't think I impressed the Solheim Cup captain (Dale Reid, her playing partner) with that display!"

Tinning, looking for her first Tour win, turned in level par with a birdie and a bogey. But the 27-year-old from Copenhagen, cousin of European Tour player Steen Tinning, rattled off four birdies on her inward nine at the fifth, sixth, seventh and ninth to tie Pettersen at the top.

"I thought it was a bit tough out there, but you can see from my scorecard that you can make birdies," said Tinning, who finished fourth in the pre-qualifying for the LPGA Tour school finals.

"I struggled a little with my driver on the par fives, especially with the tee shots. Tomorrow, I would love to win, that's the goal, but let's see what happens."

Icher, winner of the Compaq Open in Sweden three weeks ago, made her bid for
a second title of the year with a second consecutive 70.

The 22-year-old rookie from Châteauroux returned four birdies and two bogeys
in another consistent round.

"That was OK, I was please to have scored so well, especially the way I hit the ball. My putting was not good, but not bad - about medium!" she giggled.

Barnard birdied her opening hole, the 10th, adding more at the 11th and 14th
to take the early lead on six under par.

But with the difficult front nine ahead, playing predominately into the wind, the 37-year-old Surrey-based player dropped shots at the sixth and eighth to drop back.

"I am enjoying my golf again," said Barnard, whose last Tour win came in the
1990 BMW Classic.

"It would be great to win again, I haven't won in 11 years on Tour and now that the Tour is so strong, to win would be brilliant.

Pettersen, should she win on Sunday, will wrap up the Bill Johnson rookie of
the year race. The World Amateur champion from last year is 1526 points ahead of Icher and with Spain's Paula Marti, who is one under par for the Tournament, just 29 points further adrift.

But with 1500 points up for grabs to the winner this weekend, Icher could close the gap heading into the Biarritz Classic if she were to take the 15,000 first prize.

"It would be so great to win that, it is a fantastic award to have in my first year," added Pettersen. "But there are two other fantastic players battling for it, so it will be tough."

The cut fell at six over par and the biggest victim of the howling wind, thunder and rain over the last two days was one of the pre Tournament favourites Trish Johnson.

The 35-year-old from Bristol racked up a nine over par 81 in the second round to add to her opening 74.

 
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