Local favourite Azahara Muñoz takes a one-stroke lead into the weekend following a second-round 66 in the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España Femenino at Aloha Golf Club in Marbella.
Muñoz came straight out of the blocks with three consecutive birdies from the 10th hole on Friday. She then added two more birdies at the eighth and ninth for a back-nine total of five-under-par 31.
Playing in ideal scoring conditions, she bogeyed the fifth, but closed with a pair of birdies on the eighth and ninth holes to edge ahead of Pamela Pretswell of Scotland.
“It was really nice. I had a pretty strong start and birdied five of the first seven holes,” said Muñoz, 28, from nearby San Pedro de Alcántara, just a 10-minute drive away. “I holed some really nice putts and started to hit the ball much better. Yesterday was a bit of a struggle but today I think I hit 10 fairways and 16 greens so my day was much more stress-free and it was nice to finish with a couple of birdies as well.”
At six-under-par 138, the three-time Ladies European Tour tournament winner is one clear of Pretswell and two ahead of Beth Allen from the United States.
Pretswell said: “I had five birdies so I was putting it closer and taking advantage of that. I’ve only used driver three times in the last two days so I’ve been hitting a lot of 3-woods off the tee to get my rhythm. I’m not one of the ones that likes to hit driver everywhere. I’m happy to mix it up with whatever I need to hit off the tee to just get myself into a good position.”
Allen, who tied for second in the 2011 event at La Quinta on the Costa del Sol, carded five birdies and one bogey to get right into contention. She said: “I’m happy with it. I’ve done well in this event before and I feel really comfortable here and it kind of reminds me of California so I feel I have a chance.”
Teenage rookie professionals Aditi Ashok of India and Angel Yin of the United States fired second rounds of 67 and 71 respectively to join Sophie Walker of England in joint fourth position on three-under-par.
Overnight leader Amelia Lewis, meanwhile, shot a two-over 74 to share seventh with Florentyna Parker of England and Isi Gabsa from Germany, four strokes behind Muñoz.