Dutchwoman Anne Van Dam re-set after the overnight suspension and came out firing under the Spanish sunshine on Saturday morning.
The 23-year-old from Arnhem resumed her second round from the fifth green and completed a four-under-par 67 at La Quinta Resort in Malaga to take a one-stroke lead over Azahara Muñoz on seven-under-par after 36 holes. Georgia Hall and Catriona Matthew are a stroke further behind at halfway.
Van Dam went to the turn in two-over 38, but came home in 29, with six birdies on the back nine, including four in a row from the 15th hole. She finished in style with a two-putt birdie after hitting a superb 3-iron into the 18th green.
She said afterwards: “I was really pleased with my back nine. I was not playing well at all yesterday. I got off to a bad start and then made two more bogeys today. After that, I thought, just focus and try to hit my irons as close as I can. It’s just so hard for me to play this course with the amount of spin I get sometimes. I hit a few great shots that landed seven metres past and didn’t spin and some that landed good and span way too much. I think that’s the trickiest thing for me, but then on the back nine I got dialled in and got some really close chances and holed a few good putts.
“I almost had a hole-in-one on number 11, so that was an easy birdie. Then I parred 12. On 13, I hit it to about 12 feet and holed it. I made a good up and down on the next. On the par-5 15th, 10 feet for birdie, then on the par-3 16th, about 15 feet. On 17, I hit it to about 13-15 feet and then a nice two-putt on the last for birdie. It was really nice to see those putts go in because I had three three-putts on my front nine and if you take those away it actually shows how well I played today, but I’m very pleased that those birdies dropped over the last few holes.
“I nearly had an eagle on 18, but it’s such a tricky hole. I was standing on the tee box wondering if it is worth going for it, but I think definitely with that pin, it is worth it, because the green is so soft and I can hit a high shot in to the green and land it soft. I still had to hit it well so I was pleased to see it on the green and had a nice two-putt to finish it off.”
Van Dam is looking to make it a Spanish double at this week’s Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España after winning her second LET title at the Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open in Sitges, near Barcelona, two months ago.
She added: “I have one more goal this year: to play two more solid rounds and then a new year will start, so I’ll try to focus on my game and finish off this year well.”
Third round tee times start from 13:40 on Saturday with Van Dam, Muñoz and Matthew playing in the last group from 15:10 local time.