Home hope Nuria Iturrios fired a second round of six-under-par 65 in fine conditions at Club de Golf Terramar on Friday to take a one stroke lead at the inaugural Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open.
At eight-under-par, the second-year professional from Mallorca holds a narrow lead over French Solheim Cup star Karine Icher and Pamela Pretswell of Scotland, while the first-round leader Anna Nordqvist of Sweden is tied for fourth with Azahara Muñoz, the home winner of last year’s Spanish Open.
The 2016 Lalla Meryem Cup champion, Iturrios enjoyed the ideal scoring conditions and she said: “I want to keep enjoying it and making a lot of birdies. The course is a little bit short, so I can reach the greens on the par fives in two shots. We have 36 more holes so I am just playing and enjoying it.”
Icher, a five-time winner on the Ladies European Tour from 2001-2005, was pleased with her nine birdies in a 64. She said: “I had more putts dropping today. It’s fun to play here. It’s a nice, cute golf course with a lot of opportunities.”
Pretswell, looking for her first LET win, had five birdies and a solitary bogey in a 67 and she said: “Today was really solid. I just had one bogey where I didn’t get up and down and I holed a few putts, so I had a good round. I had a few close putts and a few longer ones that rolled in nicely.”
Although Nordqvist and Muñoz were not at their best, they are well positioned for the weekend, just two strokes from the lead.
Nordqvist said: “I’m quite disappointed with today because I didn’t hit it all that bad. I hit 16 greens and shot one-under, but I made a mess of the eighth. I ended up just missing the fairway and the lie took it way left. I hit it over the green into the bushes, which was not a great place and made a mess out of nine too, with a short putt for birdie that I didn’t make. Other than two or three holes, it was pretty solid, but the putts didn’t go in.”
Muñoz admitted that she could have done better than a 67. “I definitely did not have my best ball-striking day, but I kept myself in it, especially after starting with a couple of bogeys at the start of the round. I was not nervous, but I wasn’t feeling comfortable,” she said.
In a tie for sixth on five-under are English trio Melissa Reid, Florentyna Parker and Holly Clyburn, Swedish rookie Jenny Haglund and Stacey Peters of Australia, while Carlota Ciganda is five from the lead at three-under.
On an afternoon of perfect scoring conditions, Sweden’s Emma Nilsson equalled the course record. Her eight-under-par 63 was 17 shots better than her opening round of 80 and lifted her into a share of 49th position.