Shanshan Feng fired back-to-back 67s to return to her familiar place atop the leader board going into the penultimate round of the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters at Emirates Golf Club on Thursday.
The world number six from China again went bogey-free to post 10-under for the tournament, two shots ahead of Dame Laura Davies and five clear of Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall and Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum, the winner in 2013.
“I am really relaxed. I have done well so far and will just keep trying do the same things again,” said Feng, who is targeting a record third title in Dubai following her success in 2014 and 2012.
“This (Majlis) course is about making birdies. If any player who shoots nine or 10 under in one round will stand a chance of catching up with me,” said the 26-year-old, who holds the record of the lowest 72-hole score, a 21-under par 267 she posted in 2012.
“I am not thinking about it. Every year conditions are a little bit different, so, it doesn’t really matter if I break my own record or not. I just want to enjoy and be relaxed this week. I have had two good days so far, and there is another two days to go,” said the Guangzhou ace, who is also an Omega ambassador.
Davies fired consecutive opening rounds of 68 to sit at eight under par, despite playing with a painful torn tendon in her heavily strapped left ankle.
She made five birdies against one bogey on 17 and said: “Probably a better round today than it was yesterday because of the wind. It was really tricky. Hit a lot of long irons into the par 4 because a lot of the longer holes were into the wind today; whereas, we were sort of downwind yesterday. No, very pleased, 31 putts, pretty good, happy.
“I don’t think I’m at full power, especially with the driver. Doesn’t really matter. We can take half a club more. But I’m not quite hitting it as long as I normally do, and I think it’s that I can’t load up and really get through it because I can feel it a little bit, but maybe that’s helping me hit more fairways. Swings and roundabouts, really.
“I just have to keep doing what I’m doing. In my mind at the start of the week, I thought four 68s would be really good. It might not be good enough but I would love to shoot two more 68s and see what happens.”
Phatlum and Hedwall both posted four birdies on the Majlis Course. Phatlum said: “Actually I’m a little bit sick and I just try to play like my game and trust my swing. I talk with my brother a lot to get like no pressure. So today, putting very well also is the key today.”
Hedwall said: “I’m just happy I started rolling in some putts. Today I didn’t have a single bogey, so that felt nice. After China, after Xiamen, I had eight weeks off and changed my grip and been working hard on that. It’s nice that it’s paying off.”
Frenchwomen Ariane Provot and Jade Schaeffer are tied for fifth on four under par, while overnight co-leader Liz Young from England carded a second round of 75 to slip back into a share of seventh on three under par. Fellow first round co-leader Carmen Alonso had a 77 to slip back into a share of 14th place, while social media sensation Paige Spiranac from the United States missed the cut at 12 over par after a second round 79.
“It was a tough week for me and a lot of stress,” said a tearful Spiranac. “It was a great learning experience for me and I’m going to take a lot from it. I’m upset because it’s been a so much stress on me and pressure. I was invited here and wanted to prove that it was for other reasons than just my social media but hopefully more people will watch this tournament and watch the next two days and watch the leaders and know how amazing these players are.”