England’s Samantha Giles carded a second successive three-under-par round of 69 as she pulled clear of her rivals at Cleydael. The 24-year-old is playing in just her second tournament since returning from a surfing injury and has quickly found her form again on the LET Access Series.
“I had three months off. So then two weeks ago I played my first eighteen holes back home at St. Mellion, which was fine - in the rain! And then I played last week, and I was a bit sore but I got round and I was just happy to be there. And I just came here, just see what happens, and it’s going quite well!”
Giles, who started on the 10th today, had a solid opening nine holes with nine pars and a clean card at the halfway mark. A rare lapse saw a dropped shot on the 2nd before she found form on the greens holing a series of birdie putts late in the round. All four shots gained came in the last six holes and Giles will be hoping to maintain this momentum heading into the final round.
"I think I made my score more on the front nine, the actual front nine today which was my back nine today whereas yesterday it was the other way round. So, if I could try and put both of those nines together, I would be really happy with that."
"I was solid off the tee, I didn’t lose a ball, and then my putting was good. So, even though I missed a few iron shots which is what I’ve been struggling with since I came back from injury, my putting was there if I got stuck, so that was really good.”
Last time out on the LET Access Series, Giles finished T41 at the Montauban Ladies Open, and looks to be back to her best after recovering from injury. The Belfius Open was a major goal during the recovery process and the opportunity to play at the stunning Cleydael course in Aarteselaar was a source of motivation for the English star.
“I always like coming to Belgium. I always enjoy it here. When I was injured I said to my parents that I want to be fit for this event. I just like the vibe of the country, I think it’s really cool, everyone is really friendly. Not that I know much Dutch of French but it’s really nice – I really enjoy it here.”
Since turning pro, the English player’s best finish on the tour has been T11 and the Belfius Ladies Open appears to the perfect opportunity to clinch a first top-10 finish and if all goes to plan a first LET Access Series victory. A key element of that plan throughout the event has been keeping calm and Giles was keen to thank local caddie Charlotte for keeping her composed throughout her round.
“It was great today – I had a caddie from the club called Charlotte and she was great. She was really chilled and I was getting on with her really well. So, I was just taking it hole by hole and she kept saying: ‘Oh, another birdie!’ So I trying to just do it for her!”
Two shots adrift of the leader is the trio of France’s Emma Grechi, Sofie Bringner of Sweden and Spanish youngster Marta Perez.
Perez started the day level with Giles on three-under but couldn’t match her rival on day two. Despite this, a solid round of -1 leaves the Spaniard firmly in contention heading into Saturday’s final round.
Grechi and Bringner were the big movers on day two. Grechi backed up a solid round of 71 with a classy 69 on day two to climb from seventh into a tie for second. Bringner, who’s last LETAS Series outing saw her finish in third place at the Skafto Open in June, had an even better round on the Belgian course. The Swede shot five birdies on her way to a four-under 68 to remain in the hunt for a first LETAS victory.
Giles heads into the final eighteen holes knowing a repeat performance is likely to see her take the Belfius crown. Playing in the final group brings new pressures and the 24-year-old will need to hold her nerve with hot temperatures expected on the Belgian course once again.