Hauert holes a birdie putt at the par-five ninth hole

(Golfclub Föhrenwald, Wiener Neustadt, Austria – Friday 11th September 2009) – England’s Laura Davies, Germany’s Bettina Hauert and Marjet van der Graaff from the Netherlands shared the second round lead at the UNIQA Ladies Golf Open presented by Raiffeisen in Austria.

The trio finished at eight-under-par 136 before play was suspended due to darkness with just one group left to finish. Ana Belen Sanchez, Johanna Lundberg and Clare Queen completed their second rounds at 7am on Saturday.

Hauert shot a second successive round of 68 to Davies’ 69 on an overcast and windy day before thunder and lightning hit and the course was evacuated for an hour just before 3pm. Van der Graaff later returned a 67.

Davies, seeking a third-successive victory at Golfclub Föhrenwald in Wiener Neustadt, carded five birdies and two bogeys.

“It’s a very good score considering the weather today. It was a lot tougher with the wind. It could have been less because I missed some putts and my only two bogeys were three putts. I chipped in for a birdie on the 14th hole so it balanced out to not a bad score,” said the 72-time tournament champion.

“I’m very pleased. I did hit it good today. I hit one poor tee shot on 17 and that was my first bogey of the week when I three putted from the front edge.”

Hauert posted five birdies and just one bogey after she missed the green with her second shot at the par-four fifth hole. She was feeling more confident after a poor 2008 season.

Defending champion Laura Davies

“I’m very focused on the course. I don’t let my thoughts run away and I stick to the golf,” said Hauert who won in Switzerland and Finland in 2007.

“I’m very happy with the result today. There were five holes in a row where I only had one putt, that was three times after up and downs and then two birdies. That stretch started on hole-13.

“Everybody who is playing in this tournament probably wants to win it. In the last few days I gave myself good chances to do it but there are still two rounds to go. There are other girls out there too so I keep working.”

Van der Graff tasted victory in April when she won the Comunitat Valenciana European Nations Golf Cup in Spain representing Holland alongside Christel Boeljon, but the second year LET player is yet to sample individual glory.

Her best score on tour has given the long hitter the first real opportunity to contend for a title this weekend.

“Finally after two years I shoot two normal rounds in a row. I’m playing solid. I’ve played solid for the last few months but it’s not really been coming out,” she said.

Marjet van der Graaff

“I’m not sure if I’m ready for a win but I know I can win on the tour because I can shoot low scores and I hit it well enough. If I hit it straight and don’t do any strange things then I can win but I’m not sure if now is the time.”

Frenchwoman Jade Schaeffer, who claimed her maiden title this year in Germany, finished at six-under, two strokes behind the leaders alongside Johanna Westerberg, who recently earned her first tour victory in Portugal and fellow Swede Linda Wessberg.

Ireland’s Rebecca Coakley, who also led on 67 overnight, held steady with a 72 and shared seventh with Italian Veronica Zorzi at five-under.

First round co-leader Melissa Reid from England slipped back after a 74 but was still in the hunt for a maiden Ladies European Tour victory, five shots off the pace. Spain’s Marta Prieto, who was one of four first round leaders, scored 81 but she could still find reason to celebrate when she was presented with a cake after the round for her 31st birthday.