Eva Gilly Photo Credit: Adrian Milledge
Sarah Schober was in familiar territory after the second round of the WPGA International Challenge but found herself upstaged by Eva Gilly during it.
Schober, who leads the LET Access Series Order of Merit and has already secured her Ladies European Tour card, occupies pole position in the chase for the €4,800 winner’s cheque.
That is a result of the Austrian negotiating the Gainsborough Course at Stoke by Nayland Golf Hotel Spa in five-under-par to go eight-under for the tournament.
However, as impressive as her round was, not least an eagle at the par five fourth, it was not so much overshadowed as eclipsed by Gilly’s birdie bonanza.
The teenager from France racked up eight of them – including five on the bounce from the first hole onwards. The next, at the par four eighth, ushered in a relative period of calm but it was the last of the octet, at the par five 14th, which gave her the most satisfaction.
“I hit a lot of good shots,” she said, “but the approach to the 14th was the best. I used a five-wood and was on the green in two.”
Given that Gilly has not long turned 18 and been a professional for little more than a year, it’s no surprise her eight-under-par round of 64 is the best of her fledging career.
“Five-under was the best before this,” added the mademoiselle from Le Chesnay, whose approach to the game is reflected by her youthfulness.
“I like to have fun on the golf course,” she said. “That’s the most important thing to me. If I play well, then I will have fun.”
Gilly hopes to do just that in a third and final round that, for others, represents serious business as opposed to fun.
With five coveted LET cards on offer to the top five finishers in the LET Access Order of Merit and one already claimed by Schober, a scramble for the remaining quartet is in the offing in this, the penultimate event of the series, and the final one in Spain later this month.
As things stand, six are in the hunt for the cards, including England’s Charlotte Thompson, who is attached to nearby Channels Golf Club.
Thompson, who lies fifth in the Order of Merit, followed up her level par opening round with one of three-under to keep both her hopes of a top five finish and what would be tantamount to a home win bubbling.
As a result she shares sixth place with compatriot Jessica Bradley and Spanish pair Maria Parra and Virginia Espejo. They in turn are a shot adrift of another Austrian, Nina Muehl; two behind Sweden’s Jessica Karlsson; and three shy of Emilie Alonso of France who lies third on six-under.