Anne Van Dam of the Netherlands fired a six-under-par 66 in warm and breezy conditions at Orient Golf Club on Friday morning to set the clubhouse lead at the Xiamen International Ladies Open in China.
The 21-year-old from Arnhem made five birdies on the front nine and came home in one under to sit at eight-under-par and two ahead of three other players: Thailand’s Ajira Nualraksa, Moroccan Maha Haddioui and Finland’s Elina Nummenpaa. However, overnight leader Yuting Shi carded four birdies on the front nine to reach 11-under-par with a three-shot lead through the turn, the 18-year-old from Beijing having birdied holes three, four, eight and nine.
After her round, Van Dam said: “I’m obviously very happy. My swing felt very good yesterday but I made some silly mistakes. I had six birdies but four bogeys. Today I went out there trying to eliminate the bad ones and continue with the good ones and I got off to a really good start. I was five-under after eight and had a bad drive on 12, but that was the only bad thing. It could have been even lower.”
Commenting on the course condition following the historical typhoon which hit a month ago, the two-time winner on the LET Access Series continued: “The course is more open and for me, with my driving, it’s great. I hit a lot of drivers and with this heat I’m hitting it really far so on some holes I’m only 40 or 50 metres in front of the green and I’ve been taking advantage of that the last two days. The quality of the course is still really good.”
Haddioui (above), who shot a second round of 68, commented: “It was a good round. Yesterday and today were good. I was a little bit disappointed because I missed so many putts, but I guess everyone misses putts in rounds like this. The course is really good and you cannot tell that a typhoon has gone through it. They’ve done a really good job, especially on the greens. The fairways are good, everything is pretty good. I’m just going to focus on hitting one shot at a time.
“I think it’s a pretty straightforward and fair course. If you hit a good shot then you’re pretty sure to be in a good position. The grass is similar to what I’m used to in Morocco but also when I used to be in Florida. It’s the same type of grass and same type of course.”
Nummenpaa (above), who had a 71, added: “It was a tough day today. The front nine was okay but on the back nine I started missing some greens and the ball-striking didn’t feel that good anymore. The wind picked up on the last five holes and I finished on the ninth, so it was a tough finish. It’s always good to play under par after a good day, so I’m happy, but I had more birdie opportunities on the front nine.”
Nualraksa (below) reached nine-under before taking a triple bogey on the 18th hole. She said: “From the first hole I was hitting consistently and my putts were dropping. On the back nine the wind was getting stronger but it was still going well until the last hole. I’m a little bit disappointed. Everything went wrong, from the wind getting stronger. It kind of made my first shot difficult and I pushed it right. I had relief from the cart path and had a good line but wrong decision, wrong club. Then another bad decision, bad lie, had to go back there again and a bad chip. Everything went wrong. I was rushing.”
The second round continues in a strong breeze.