Denmark’s Nicole Broch Larsen grabbed a two stroke lead at the Oates Vic Open at 13th Beach in Australia on Friday as the 2015 runner-up Su Oh matched her own course record, her 8-under 65 on the Beach Course leaving her as one of four players in second position at the halfway mark.
Broch Larsen had played 34 holes in the Ladies European Tour’s season opener this week without a bogey before recording her first dropped stroke on the par-3 17th.
Despite carding straight rounds of 6-under 67 on the Creek and Beach Courses respectively,
Broch Larsen says she’s yet to produce her best golf.
“I think I’ve got some good bounces,” joked the 2015 Helsingborg Open winner. “I’m not hitting the ball like I really want to, I’m not flushing it at all.
“I hit 16 greens [in regulation] today and 17 yesterday, so I’m going good even though I’m not striking the ball well.”
“I think the greens are trickier on the Beach and the wind was tough for me to figure out on the last couple of holes. The par 5s are still quite reachable so a couple of birdie chances there but I think it’s playing a bit longer,” said Broch Larsen, who has four professional wins, including two on the LET Access Series, one on the LET and her most recent, on the Symetra Tour in October 2015.
The four players who are two strokes behind are Su Oh, Holly Clyburn, Whitney Hillier and Sandra Gal.
Oh, who represented Australia at the Rio Olympic Games, was proud of her Friday 65 but admitted she’d still left herself work to do over the weekend.
“So I needed one more birdie to beat it?” asked Oh when she was informed she’d matched her 2015 Beach Course record. “Disappointing… but the lead is only two shots. There’s a lot of birdie opportunities out there, we get into the par-5s in two and we’ve been hitting a lot of short irons and wedges in, so I think there’s a lot of birdies out there. I left a couple out there, I made a six on a par-5 again!”
Oh’s opening 2-under 71 on the Creek Course meant the spotlight shone elsewhere heading into day two, but that changed after lunch on Friday when the 20-year-old made the turn at 6-under par for the round.
Gal recorded six birdies of her own in a frantic eight-hole stretch that kick started her tournament, while England’s Clyburn ground to a round of 69 that saw her retain her share of second place at the end of play.
Overnight leader Laura Davies, the 45-time LET winner, followed her staggering opening round of 65 with a 3-over 76, but the four-time major winner remains in the hunt at 13th Beach, currently in a share of 18th on the standings at five-under for the week.
Fellow Englishwoman Melissa Reid looked frustrated on Friday, a 3-under 70 leaving her in a share of sixth with South Korean amateur Hye-Jin Choi at 9-under, while American Angel Yin and Australian veteran Katherine Kirk are tied for eighth.