|Marjet Van der Graaff Photo: J Rodríguez |
Marjet Van der Graaff will take a one stroke lead into the final round of the Banesto Tour Zaragoza after firing a three under par round of 69 on the second day at Club de Golf La Peñaza in Spain.
The long-hitting Dutchwoman, who began the second round a stroke behind Italian Laura Sedda, grabbed pole position with an eagle, three birdies and two bogeys in sunny and calm conditions.
She dropped a shot at the par-three third hole but bounced back with an eagle on the par-five fifth, having struck her second shot to within 20 feet of the flag.
After picking up another shot at the par-five 11th, where she again reached the green in two shots, the 29-year-old from Rotterdam dropped another shot on the par-three 15th.
However, she finished well with birdies on the par-five 16th and par-four 17th to move to four under par, a stroke clear of Spanish amateur Silvia Bañon and Belgian Lauren Herman.
“It was a beautiful day, no wind. I made mistakes but recovered well,” said Van der Graaff, who is a fifth year player on the Ladies European Tour.
She won the Comunitat Valenciana European Nations Cup alongside compatriot Christel Boeljon in 2009 but is yet to collect her maiden victory as an individual competitor. A win would be a real boost for the player who finished equal fourth on her return to LET Qualifying School earlier this season.
|Silvia Bañon Photo: J Rodríguez |
However, Herman and Bañón are also in the hunt for their first wins on the LET Access Series, just one shot behind.
Amateur Bañón, a 19-year-old from Alicante, had a four under 68 which included five birdies and just one three-putt bogey. She said: “I hit very good irons and enjoyed the good conditions today.”
She explained that she started playing golf aged 10 and encouraged her parents to follow in her footsteps. Now a member of the Spanish national team, she has recorded a few top ten places and will start studying Marketing in Madrid this September as part of a scholarship offered by the Spanish Federation and CEU.
Herman, known by the nickname, ‘Lo’, had a steady 69 after an opening 72 on Thursday and said: “I had an amazing round yesterday: four birdies, one eagle, four bogeys and one double bogey. I played steady today. It was great weather and beautiful conditions.”
Herman became a professional golfer in January 2012 and didn’t make it through Ladies European Tour Qualifying School however she is pleased to have made all three cuts in the feeder tour events she has played so far this year on the Access Series and Banesto Tours.
A stroke further back in fourth place on two under is Tamara Johns of Australia. The 32-year-old Queenslander had a 70 and said: “I played good and struck the ball really well. It was more like Australian weather today; yesterday was too cold for me.
“The course is beautiful and suits my game; they were very good conditions. I only had one bogey in 36 holes, at the 13th yesterday after missing the fairway. Today, I made birdie at the fifth, where I was on the green in two and had two putts. I also made birdie at the eighth after hitting a sand wedge to three feet. I’ve got my conditional cards on the LET and LPGA, but I am concentrating in Europe; I love it here and prefer Europe to the USA.”
Spanish rookie Mireia Prat ended the day in fifth place on one under par, with a further five players rounding out the top ten.
South African Nicole Becker, Norwegian Lene Krog, Germany’s Stephanie Kirchmayr, Ana Belén Sánchez of Spain and Frenchwoman Marion Ricordeau all finished on level par, just four strokes behind the leader.
Laura Sedda of Italy, who led overnight on two under par 70, was five strokes worse on Friday and ended the day five shots off the lead in a share of 11th place with Spaniards Carlota Ciganda and Raquel Carriedo among others.
Sedda said: “I putted badly. I played well until the 11th and then there were too many bogeys. I should have played much better: the course was easier, there was no wind and it was a beautiful day. I’m happy overall and will have another chance tomorrow.”
The final round will be contested by 26 players following the second round cut, which was made at three over par. Third round tee times run from 9am until 10.48am, with the last pairing featuring Van der Graaff and Bañón.