Halfway leader Becky Brewerton

(Arras, France – Friday 18th September 2009) – Last month’s Solheim Cup star Becky Brewerton went into the weekend with a one stroke lead at the Randstad Open de France Dames at Le Golf D’Arras in Anzin St. Aubin, Northern France.

A second round of five-under 67 propelled the Welshwoman to the top of the leader board at seven-under-par, but she said that she was surprised after her past performances on the same golf course.

“Considering how I’ve done here before I think it’s brilliant,” said the Abergele 26-year-old, whose best finish in five previous appearances at Le Golf D’Arras was equal 13th in 2007.

“It’s been completely different. The course is playing a bit different this year. The fairways are quite firm and the greens are soft. It’s working really well. I’m hitting it a long way off the tee and it’s making it a lot easier.

“If you hit a fairway it runs out quite a lot as well so it’s going well. My wedges are going well. I’ve struggled with that here because I used to get too much spin on the ball. Quite a lot of the greens face back towards you but I’ve managed to control that a bit better this year. I think it’s because my swing’s a little bit better.”

Brewerton, who in July secured her second Ladies European Tour victory at the Open de Espana Femenino, carded four birdies over the back nine holes before posting another three – and two bogeys – over the front nine.

She added: “I’m quite surprised to be honest. Coming into this week normally I’m happy to get around so being relaxed and not expecting too much might have helped.”

Brewerton is being chased by a trio of players at six-under-par. Spain’s Ana Larraneta produced a round of 68 for a share of second with Frenchwoman Caroline Afonso and Austrian Nicole Gergely.

“I’ve had a really tough time for the last three years,” said 36-year-old Larranetta, from Gorraiz, who made her last cut at this tournament last year. She returned to her former coach Lawrence Farmer in November, after three seasons of struggles. “You’ve been working so hard and you can enjoy it. It’s a big relief. It’s nice to feel this way.”

The 24-year-old Afonso from Anglet near Biarritz was thrilled to be the leading home player after a solid 67.

“I’m very happy. My golf is very good; my putting and driving is excellent,” said the second year pro, who hit 18 greens and made 30 putts.

Gergely went even better and hit 18 greens en route to her 67. “I hit 18 greens which was the first round ever. The feeling was good, I had the right clubs. There were a few chances I missed but overall I’m just happy,” said the 24-year-old from Judenburg.

First round leader Ursula Wikstrom of Finland and the defending champion Anja Monke from Germany share fifth place with Sweden’s Carin Koch and Irish rookie Tara Delaney on five-under-par.

They are one clear of four players at four-under: Ireland’s Rebecca Coakley, Frenchwoman Gwladys Nocera, South African Lee-Anne Pace and Australian Karen Lunn.