Spain’s Carmen Alonso takes a one shot lead into the final round of the AXA Czech Ladies Challenge at Golf Resort Konopiste in Bystrice. The 33-year-old recorded a six under par, 66, to sit at 8 under after 36 holes.
Alonso is one of the longest hitters in European women’s golf and that length and accuracy has helped her to climb to the top of the leaderboard, providing a one shot cushion over England’s Hayley Davis and local favourite Czech amateur Tereza Meckeva.
The Spaniard recently returned to her old coach, Jonathan Yarwood, who she says has helped her enormously since they started to work together again late last year, after a long break.
Alonso attended the IMG Golf Academy in Florida for 18 months, shortly after her father passed away when she was seventeen. Yarwood like Alonso, is a big fan of what Severiano Ballesteros brought to the game of golf and with that common admiration, they connected well. He now teaches in Hilton Head in South Carolina.
“Last September I was a little bit down. I was at home and I was looking at Facebook and saw my coach from sixteen years ago from the States in Florida. I said to him ‘hello’ and he sent me a reply. After talking I sent a video to him and I said I need this from a coach. I don’t know if you want to be my coach again. I know that it’s difficult because I’m in Spain and you are in the United States but maybe we can do something. And since the first day, it’s amazing. For me it’s the best coach I’ve had forever. He’s always in touch with me if I send a video or a message.”
Alonso has been very solid golf over the first two days, missing just two greens in total.
“My putting was really good but the two days I played really good from tee to green. Yesterday, I hit 18 greens and today I hit 16 greens so like this the birdies are going to come, you have to be patient. That is my main goal to be calm in my head and stay in my game and routines.”
“My mindset is doing what I’m doing. I don’t have to look at anyone. If I’m doing what I’m doing I’m alright if I’m not doing what I have to do I’m not going to be there. Simple and calm, that’s it and have fun.”
Davis is a rookie on LETAS this year, although she turned professional in 2016. The Englishwoman is in good form, finishing in 6th place at last week’s Viaplay Ladies Finnish Open. A round of 66 today put the 25-year-old right in the hunt for her first professional title.
Meckeva is enjoying the position she finds herself in. A shaky front nine today had the 19-year-old amateur feeling a bit nervous but she rallied to come home in 34 shots and a second round of 70 put her alongside Davis at seven under par and a 137 total.
Emma Grechi of France and Frida Gustaffson-Spang from Sweden, are tied in 4th place at 6 under. Gustaffson-Spang produced the low round of the day, 65, and Grechi matched her first round 69 with another on day two.
Swazilands’ Nobuhle Dlamini and Inci Mehmet of England are tied for 6th place at five under par, 139 total. Dlamini added a 2nd round 71 to her opening 68, whilst Mehmet recorded a 68 and a 71 yesterday.
Forty-five professionals and three amateurs made the cut, which fell at even par, 144. The final day’s play will start at 8.00 from both the 1st and 10th tees.