Germany’s Nina Holleder and Norwegian Cecilie Lundgreen proved inseparable after the second round of the Women’s Bank Open at Hill Side Golf Club near Helsinki on Friday.
The pair ended level on five under par, after posting second rounds of 70 and 69 respectively in cool and windy conditions, with temperatures hovering between 12-13 degrees Celcius.
South African Ilska Verwey shot a 70 and was the next best placed competitor on three under par, with Finland’s Linda Henriksson, Russian Galina Rotmistrova and Australian Bree Arthur in a share of fourth, a shot further behind.
Holleder, the No.2 ranked amateur in Germany, with a handicap of +3.5, picked up a shot at the par-3 4th hole, after striking a five-iron to within a metre of the hole, but she three-putted for bogey from six metres at the ninth for an outward total of level par.
The 24-year-old hit a pitching wedge into the 11th and rolled in the birdie putt from six inches before making an eagle three at the par-5 13th, which was playing downwind. She hit a nine-iron second shot to two metres from the flag and rolled in the putt for eagle.
After missing the 17th and 18th greens, resulting in two dropped shots, she was keeping her expectations in check at the end of her round and commented: “I just want to play one more round well and see what happens.”
Holleder is in the German team for the World Amateur Championships in Turkey in September but hopes to play more LETAS events this season. She plans to attend LET Tour School this year and added: “My coach, Michael Terwort, said it would be good experience to play in some LET Access Series events to gain some experience. This is my first event on LETAS, I like it.”
She is one of four amateurs in the top 11 places on the leader board. China’s Xin Ying Wang sits alone in seventh place on one under, while fellow amateurs Krista Bakker and Matilsa Castrén from Finland are in a share of eighth with Jenni Kuosa and recent LETAS tournament winner Pamela Pretswell of Scotland on level par with a round to play.
Lundgreen, who claimed her maiden victory as a professional at the recent Kristianstad Ahus Ladies Open in Sweden, had a similar score card to Holleder with an eagle at the 13th mixed with two birdies and two bogeys. She said: "I tried to play safe."
Lundgreen now has the opportunity to seize the top position on the LETAS order of merit, as the current ranking leader Marion Ricordeau from France and another of this year´s LETAS-winners, Anastasia Kostina, both missed the cut.
Romistrova from Russia shot the low round of the day with a 67 to get well in the hunt for her first LETAS title and could become the second Russian winner following Kostina, who recently won in Ukraine.
The Women's Bank Open is being hosted by Finnish player Hanna-Leena Ronkainen, who formerly competed on the Ladies European Tour under her maiden name of Salonen. She missed the cut, at six months pregnant.
The Women’s Bank Open forms part of a charity campaign by the Finnish Golf Union and The Women´s Bank Charity (governed by the Finnish Church), where 59 golf clubs and more than 2,000 golfers in Finland were involved in the campaign and raised 10,120 Euros for charity. This is the equivalent of 404 new jobs for women in developing countries.
The ambassadors of the charity campaign are professional golfers Ursula Wikström, Minea Blomqvist-Kakko and Kaisa Ruuttila as well as the young amateur Anne Hakula. Wikström is still in a position to fight for a top-10 place in the final round on Saturday, as she ended nine strokes off the pace on four over par.