26th February 2010 — American Diana D’Alessio, after a 2009 golf year which brought little financial reward and a free-falling ranking on the United States LPGA Tour, made a decision which seems likely to pay an early dividend.

Late last year she attended a Vision 54 seminar in Phoenix, a project launched by Pia Nilsson, and popularised by Swedish professional, Annika Sorenstam, and she headed to Christchurch this week for the Pegasus New Zealand Women’s Open with her mind full of positive thoughts.

Vision 54 is an integrated coaching programme aimed at increasing performance and individual development to enable the golfer to shoot 54, the equivalent of 18 birdies in a round.

Midway through the national event at Pegasus Town, north of Christchurch, D’Alessio has a one shot lead over Australian Sarah Kemp, backing up her first round of five-under 67 with 68 today to be nine-under par. A shot further back are South African Ashleigh Simon and overnight leader, Norwegian Marianne Skarpnord, whose 73 was eight shots more than her outstanding first round.

Standing alone in fifth place is Canadian Lorie Kane, a shot ahead of England’s Laura Davies and Austria’s Stefanie Michl.

Three Kiwis made the cut which was at four over, the best of them being Wellington professional Sarah Nicholson who is in a tie for eighth after a second round 70. She is joined by two amateurs, 12-year-old Lydia Ko and Cecilia Cho, on even par 144.

D’Alessio went 31 holes before dropping a shot, but even after a double-bogey at the 13th and a three-putt bogey at the 14th her powers of positive thinking came to bear and she birdied three of the last four holes bringing her birdie tally for 36 holes to 12.