Tonje Daffinrud produced the round of the day in the WPGA International Challenge at Stoke by Nayland Hotel Golf and Spa to maintain her bid for a top five place in the rankings and earn her Ladies European Tour card for next season.
The 23-year-old Norwegian, who occupied seventh place at the start of the tournament, carded a four-under par round of 68 to go five-under for the tournament.
The round also gave her a share of pole position with England’s Charlotte Ellis, Denmark’s Daisy Nielsen and Melodie Bourdy of France in the chase for the €4,800 first prize.
All of which sets the stage for a potentially tense and thrilling climax to the final tournament of the season.
The three other challengers, however, will be mindful of Daffinrud’s recent form, which has seen her record successive victories in the Azores Ladies Open and Grecotel Amirandes Ladies Open.
She carried that into the second round over the Gainsborough course at the Suffolk resort with a blemish free display that saw her card a brace of birdies on the outward half followed by another on the inward nine.
Nielsen, who lies fourth in the rankings and is on course to secure her Tour card, also carded four birdies but the downhill par three ninth appears, quite literally, to be her bogey hole. Having recorded a bogey there in the first round, she followed suit in day two.
Whereas Nielsen was left to rue just one bogey, Bourdy suffered a comparative epidemic of them. The satisfaction of recording six birdies was dampened by three bogeys and the sister of European Tour pro, Gregory, was left to ponder what might have been. Likewise Ellis, the joint overnight leader, whose six birdies were tempered with four bogeys.
The leading quartet will be joined in the final round by Alison Nicholas the former US Open champion. Nicholas, who is also the leading PGA Professional in the field, made the cut comfortably after following up her opening round of two-over with a one-under-par 71.
Hannah Ralph, will also get the chance to defend her title successfully after a level par second round left her on two-over for the tournament while Stoke by Nayland member Hannah Moul also made the cut on eight-over.
There will be no place on the last day, however, for Scotland’s Noni Stephen despite having Sir Clive Woodward, England’s World Cup winning rugby coach on the bag. Stephen, an amateur, will have the weekend off after respective rounds of six and eight over.