Bénédicte Toumpsin of Belgium will take a four stroke lead into the final round of the GolfStream Ladies Open in Ukraine when she tees up at Kiev Golf Club on Thursday.
The 23-year-old from Charleroi will start the last day at three under par and with a substantial advantage ahead of Russian Anastasia Kostina and last week’s winner Pamela Pretswell of Scotland.
Toumpsin fired a second round of 68 containing six birdies and two birdies on a warm and breezy Wednesday, but felt that she was lucky to have saved par at the long 13th.
“I am really happy with today. I had some good luck. On the 13th, it could have been a disaster hole. I pushed my second shot and played a provisional but found my first ball and managed to make a par,” Toumpsin said.
“Driving it well is important, you have to put the ball in the fairway and the greens are fantastic, they are in really good shape. The course is great considering it is only two years old.”
Toumpsin made a strong start to her second round when she birdied the par-four third hole, after hitting her nine-iron to a metre from the flag, but she negated her efforts with a bogey on the fourth.
She hit sand wedges into the fifth and sixth, holing from three metres at each for birdie before dropping a shot at the eighth hole.
She finished with three birdies in five holes, chipping in at the par-four 14th before striking an eight-iron to three metres at the par-three 17th and then chipping to two metres at the par-five 18th.
Toumpsin is aiming for her first victory in her second season as a professional. Last year she played in 15 events on the Ladies European Tour and made one cut at the Lalla Meryem Cup.
“I was struggling a lot last year and I decided to stop my season in October. I decided to start some work on my swing and then was ill at Q school so I have been struggling a lot this last year and a half since I turned pro,” she explained.
“I'm happy now it’s getting better and I see a lot of improvement, especially in my short game. I've also been reading a lot about athletes who have been struggling and then changed their mindset. I read Azahara Munoz's article about how she was miserable on the course and she started to be happy and have fun. I am really happy to be here and just want to play good tomorrow.”
While Toumpsin was all smiles, first round leader Viva Schlasberg of Sweden was having less fun as she slipped back into outright fourth place on two over par after adding a 75 to her opening 71.
LETAS order of merit leader Marion Ricordeau of France is two strokes further back, placed seven shots off the lead on four over alongside Elina Nummenpaa from Finland.
The third and final round gets under way at 9am local time on Thursday, with the leading trio starting at 10.40am.