(Melbourne, 1 March 2002) Norway’s Suzann Pettersen and Australian Karrie Webb share the second round lead on four under par at the $Aus500,000 AAMI Australian Open at Yarra Yarra GC on the world famous Melbourne sand-belt.
The pair lead by two shots from South Korean Kyung Eun Bae and Australian amateur Nikki Campbell.
Becky Morgan from Wales fired a two under par 70 to tie in fifth place alongside Australians Rachel Teske and Michelle Ellis.
|Webb – a bit wayward|
But with an unforced error at the par four 17th, where she pushed her shot to the right for the third hole in succession, saw her drop back into a tie with Pettersen.
And despite reaching the greenside bunker in two shots at the par five final hole, Webb missed a short birdie opportunity and was forced to hole from four feet for her par.
“It was quite a grind out there, said the World number two, who admitted she was nowhere near close to the top of her game.
“I was pleased I didn’t let myself shoot anything worse than level par. I started off pretty well, but the back nine was definitely a struggle.
“It was a classic Melbourne day, I expected the greens to be a little harder in places, but greens that were normally hard were a little soft. It’s a bit of an adjustment and a bit of a guessing game.
“To get to the top of my game before the week is out will probably not happen, but I think I still have the game to have a chance to win here. I don’t think that it is that bad, but I have got to eliminate some of the loose swings that I had coming in to this week.”
Pettersen began the day at three under par and admitted that she was stressed after an unusually short practice session in semi darkness of the morning.
The former World Amateur champion started shakily with a bogey and a birdie in the first three holes, but steadied the ship with three pars and carded birdie fours at the 16th and 18th to reach the turn in two under 34 to tie for the lead with Webb, who had yet to tee off.
A further bogey resulted at the tricky second hole before the 20-year-old from Oslo made light work of the 281-metre fourth to return to four under.
However, Pettersen came unstuck for the second consecutive day at the long par four seventh, bogeying after hitting her tee shot under a bush. But a gritty birdie at the long uphill ninth saw her share the lead with the Australian World number two.
“I’m playing some solid golf, but I am making mistakes once in a while,” said the 2001 Evian Tour Rookie of the Year, who had to use her spare driver after she found her trusty one in two pieces when she took it out of her car this week.
“It was one of those rounds where you had to be awake, hit some fairways and greens and maybe get some birdie opportunities. The greens here are so difficult, if you miss the pin, you have to miss on the right side and it’s better to be 30 feet on the right side than three feet on the wrong side.
“As long as you are a good friend to your putter, you will be able to score out there. But you always have to count on some bogeys and hope you get a lot of birdies.”
And with the chance to meet Webb at the weekend, Pettersen is relishing the chance to impress on a bigger stage.
“She is an awesome player,” added Pettersen. “Karrie will always be up there at the top. It was tough out there today, and it would be great to play with her at the weekend.”
England’s Laura Davies crashed to an eight over par 81 as she missed the cut by five shots on 11 over.