|Valentine Derrey (left) and Gwladys Nocera who led the Team Event after round one|
Three players shared the lead on nine-under-par after the second round morning session at the World Ladies Championship.
England’s Trish Johnson, Valentine Derrey of France and South Korean Ye Na Chung were all at nine-under-par after second rounds of 68, 68 and 69 on the Blackstone Course at Mission Hills Resort Haikou in tropical Hainan.
Johnson, who started with a pair of bogeys on holes 10 and 11, picked up seven birdies to remain in contention after recovering from a bout of illness earlier in the week.
“I’m feeling much better,” said Johnson. “I woke up with sore throat, head and no energy. I felt terrible in the Pro-Am and then yesterday not great. It was literally no energy to get angry or anything because it was just get round and I did alright.
“Today I started bogey, bogey and thought, ‘that’s ironic, feel better, play rubbish,’ but then I made seven birdies after that and it could have been more as well.
“Obviously there are two or three people in the field who can shoot anything under so it’s a case of wait and see what happens today and if anybody is out of sight. I would imagine you’ve got to be 20 to 24 under to win, so it’s going to be a hell of a weekend.”
Derrey also mixed seven birdies with two bogeys in a 68 and said: “I started pretty well making birdies on the par fives. They are reachable in two so I think that’s easy and I just made a couple of putts and hit really good shots and shot five under.”
There are 10 golf courses at the luxury resort and comparing the course and conditions to those on the Sandbelt Trails which she played 12 months ago, Derrey added: “It’s like totally different weather: it’s windier this year, I think and the course layout is really different too so it’s two different titles.”
Korean LPGA player Chung, who led the Sanya Ladies Open in Hainan in October last year, had six birdies and two bogeys in a four-under 69.
She said: “I tried not to be greedy today, so I focused on making a par on every hole and I think that was the reason for my score.
“The weather yesterday and today was a little bit windy so it was very hard. I want to win the tournament but in golf nobody knows who will win.”
Last year’s champion, Suzann Pettersen from Norway, who led by a stroke on six-under-par after the first round, was one stroke behind the leaders on eight-under-par after 10 holes this afternoon.
Earlier in the day, Australian Alison Whitaker retired with an injured wrist.