Germany’s Karolin Lampert blitzed the field with a career low seven under par 65 at the Amelkis Course in the second round of the Ladies European Tour’s Lalla Aicha Tour School Final Qualifier in Marrakech on Saturday.
At 12 under par, Lampert holds a two stroke lead over Denmark’s Daisy Nielsen, who fired a second round 66 on the Amelkis Course and Justine Dreher, who had a 66 on the Samanah Course.
There are two fields playing on the Amelkis and Samanah courses alternately for the first four rounds, followed by a cut to the leading 60 players and those tied before the fifth and final round to be played at Samanah on Sunday, all chasing a place on the Ladies European Tour in 2016.
Lampert was all smiles after making five birdies and an eagle on the par-5 18th hole at the Amelkis course, where she used a 5-iron to hit her second shot within seven metres of the flag. She said: “I played seven under which is my lowest score ever and I’m really happy with that. I didn’t make a bogey today, so I can’t wait to play the next few days. I’ve got a really good feeling for the greens, so it was a mixture of good shots, good putts and some good saves. I’m just trying to stay relaxed and not be too aggressive, but try to hole the putts. There is no pressure so if I can shoot two or three under each day that will be fine.”
Nielsen, whose Speedway champion father Hans is caddying for her, had an eagle of her own on the par-5 15th hole at Amelkis, where she hit a long drive down the hill setting her up for a perfect 7-iron into the green. After finishing with five birdies and a solitary bogey on her card, she said: “I was very satisfied with my approach shots and my putting. My tee shots could have been better, I had a few bad ones but was lucky they ended up in okay places. I’m just trying to be relaxed and as free as possible and not make every shot too important. I’m going to try to continue doing that and see if I can be free over every shot.”
Also at 10 under is Justine Dreher, who was born in Germany but represents France. The 23-year-old University of South Carolina graduate had six birdies on the Samanah course, including four in a row from the 15th.
She said: “I’ve hit really good balls with my irons and was pretty much always on the green or right next to the green. I didn’t really make any mistakes and had six birdies. I’m playing shot by shot and trying to do my best. Scores are obviously low. We have a lot of short irons into the greens so you have to make birdies and just keep going.”
Caroline Rominger of Switzerland is a shot further back in fourth place on nine under par after a second round of 68 on the Amelkis Course.
“I played really well and I’m hitting the ball really good. Today I had so many more chances so I’m happy but it could have been even better. I’m hitting my irons really straight so I can go straight for the pins and that’s a good feeling,” she said. “We’re not yet halfway through so there’s still a lot of golf to be played.”
A group of eight players share fifth place on seven under par. Of them, England’s Annabel Dimmock (66) and Kiran Matharu (66), Scotland’s Gemma Dryburgh (66), Spain’s Noemi Jimenez Martin (66) and 17-year-old Indian amateur Aditi Ashok (69) played on the Amelkis Course while Scotland’s Kelsey MacDonald (70), Emily Tally of the United States (69) and Ariane Provot from France (68) played on the Samanah Course.
Dimmock said: “I’m satisfied. It was a bit unfortunate to take a double on my 16th with a mud ball, which was a bit annoying. I could have got my head down with two holes to play but I carried on and was playing well. I putted well out there today. Putting is one of my strengths and it was there for me today. I drove it better than pre-qualifying and a lot better in practise rounds. Everything was pretty good. I holed putts outside 30 foot on my sixth and seventh hole, so that kept the momentum going. I’m just sticking to my routines and not thinking about scores.”
Dryburgh commented: “I had no bogeys, so that’s always nice. I played really solid from tee to green so no complaints. The highlight was probably my shots into the greens, because I only missed one or two greens so I gave myself a lot of chances for birdie. I don’t really set myself any numbers because I just like to hit one shot at a time and do my best.”
Jimenez commented: “I feel really good because I started a little bit rough. Even though I made three birdies I was a little bit shaken on the tee box. I saved two good bogeys because I went into the water on one hole. From then on I made a lot of birdies and no bogeys. My putting was really good. Now I’m trying to catch the leaders because if you try to make the cut it doesn’t help a lot.”
There are 115 players from 35 countries in the field competing for Membership on the 2016 Ladies European Tour. The top 30 and ties will earn Membership in Category 8, while those who make the cut and finish in positions 31 and below will be eligible for Membership in Category 9b. Players who fail to make the cut may join the LET with Membership in Category 12a, although will have a limited number of playing opportunities. In layman’s terms, this means that those in Category 8 will earn their ‘full card” while those in 9b have a “conditional card.”