American Cristie Kerr fired a second round of six-under-par 64 at Golf de Chantaco on Saturday to post a bogey-free 36-hole total of 14-under-par and lead the Lacoste Ladies Open de France by six strokes.
After recording eight birdies in her first round on Thursday, Kerr rested on Friday when the afternoon’s play was suspended due to a waterlogged golf course and unplayable conditions, but she returned to fire six birdies on Saturday, at the second, fourth, fifth, 12th, 14th and 17th holes.
“I played very well and hung in there when I wasn’t hitting it quite as good. I’ve got to give myself putts and then it’s about willing it into the hole. I’ve got a lot to play for this week,” said the 39-year-old from Miami, who has earned 26 professional titles in 20 years on tour.
Van Dam, one of the longest hitters on the LET, moved into second position on eight-under-par after a 67. Carrying the ball 290 yards from the tee onto damp fairways allowed the Dutchwoman to get into the ideal position to attack the pins and gave her a huge advantage, but she took some time to adjust to the pace of the greens, which were unplayable on Friday afternoon.
As the sunshine beamed down on Saint-Jean-de-Luz on Saturday, the course was gradually drying out and Van Dam said: “I’m playing pretty steady, not spectacularly good but my missed shots are very decent and I’m not in a lot of trouble. I made a three-putt on 17 and I had two good putts but it bumped away and you have to accept that.”
With a second-round 69, Finland’s Ursula Wikstrom advanced to third position on six-under, having made three birdies on Friday morning before play was suspended.
Spanish pair Belen Mozo and Patricia Sanz Barrio were tied for fourth place on five-under-par with French teenager Mathilde Claisse and fellow Frenchwoman Isabelle Boineau, Xi Yu Lin, Christine Wolf and Klara Spilkova were a stroke further behind in joint seventh place.
Claisse, who represented Europe in the recent PING Junior Solheim Cup in Iowa, said: “I had a good start with a birdie on the first hole and on the eighth and ninth, it was a bit hard and I was a bit stressed, and then at the end my recovery was great and with the atmosphere I made some birdies, so I have to learn. I’m here to enjoy my week and do my best.”
The 16-year-old amateur from Racing Club de France in Paris is a member of the French National Team and plans to attend South Carolina University from 2019. She will have an experience to remember this week, playing in the penultimate group for the last two rounds with Mozo and Sanz Barrio, just ahead of Kerr, Van Dam and Wikstrom in the final group.
After the cut to the leading 53 players was made, the third round commenced from two tees at 16:00 local time on Saturday and will be completed on Sunday morning. There will be no re-draw for the fourth and final round, which will be played on Sunday afternoon.