Denmark’s Nicole Broch Estrup and Austrian amateur Emma Spitz share the lead on 12-under-par after the second day of the Tipsport Czech Ladies Open.
It was a delayed start to the proceedings on Saturday after heavy rainfall overnight and persistent rain in the morning led to a delay of nearly three hours.
But once action got underway, the Danish overnight leader continued her impressive form this week carding a bogey-free 67 (-5) to remain at the top of the leaderboard.
“I feel like I played a bit more solid yesterday, but I feel things have gone my way on both days,” said Broch Estrup.
“I just hung on to the red line on 18 behind the green, and you just have to take those things in golf. I hope to play with a bit more confidence tomorrow and try to play with the mindset of trying to achieve good shots rather than avoid hitting bad shots.
“I feel like I stayed patient today and focusing on hitting the good shots even though I could feel my body tensing up and I wasn’t swinging as free as I would like. I was hanging in there and I’m really happy to get it done in five-under.”
The Dane is in contention for the final day, and it is a position she hasn’t been in for a while, but the 2015 Helsingborg Open champion is hoping to take it in her stride.
She added: “It’s super nice to be competing at the top of leaderboards again and it’s been a while since I’ve been here.
“I’m trying to tell myself that it’s good that I’m feeling this way and it’s because I’m in a good position and that’s where I want to be. I would like to feel a bit calmer, but hopefully I can get there some day again.”
Austria’s Spitz replicated her first round producing another 66 to put her alongside Broch Estrup at Royal Beroun Golf Club.
A bogey on the first didn’t deter the amateur, who is ranked seventh in the world, and she soon rolled in seven birdies to reach 12-under.
“I was nervous on the first green, I didn’t really know how they were going to roll after the rain and if it was going to be much slower so I left it way short and three-putted which wasn’t a great start, but I told myself I could make a lot of birdies coming in and it worked out fine,” said the former UCLA student.
“I’ve played on the LET Access Series before and been near the lead, but this is different, the level is a lot higher, but I’ll just play my own game and see what happens tomorrow.
“I knew coming in that if I played well, I could play with the top players here. I’ve played against a lot of the players in amateur golf so that’s nice, but it’s always nice to see your name at the top of the leaderboard.
“It’s going to be fun playing with Nicole tomorrow, she’s a great player and it’s going to be cool to see how she plays.”
Two Czech players are tied for third place with amateur Jana Melichova and LET winner Klara Spilkova just one stroke behind the leaders on 11-under-par.
The duo both had excellent days on the golf course signing for the best rounds of the day, 65 (-7), to put themselves firmly into contention heading into the final day.
Melichova explained: “I was pleased with everything today, I was hitting my driver really solid, some of my approach shots went really close and I gave myself good birdie chances, and of course my putting. It wouldn’t have been possible without my putting today.
“It’s incredible to have people out there cheering for you, it’s such a great feeling and I really enjoyed it. Tonight, I’m going to try and rest and try to forget about today and yesterday to try and clear my head, but I want to practice for a bit longer then turn off all my thoughts about golf for a bit.”
While Spilkova, who became the first ever Czech winner on the LET back in 2017, is thrilled to see so many players from her homeland doing so well this week.
“Everything went well today, I felt very solid and hit lots of solid shots, I pretty much ended up on every fairway and green, so it was really solid,” said the 2017 Lalla Meryem Cup winner.
“I was trying to stay very patient because I felt I could do better on the front nine, and it paid off on the back nine. I’m playing very consistent, I hit my driver really well which is good because it’s not that long around here, but it can be quite tricky off the tee.
“It’s amazing to see so many Czech players competing, I’m really grateful for that because when I think 12 years back when I was one of the only ones on Tour and the results weren’t that good. It really makes me happy and it’s great for the country, and I really hope that we can all do pretty well this week.”
Spanish pair Luna Sobron Galmes and Paz Marfa Sans sit in a tie for fifth place on seven-under-par after they both produced second rounds of 69 (-3).
Sweden’s Johanna Gustavsson, Czech amateur Patricie Mackova, who celebrated her 21st birthday today, and Spain’s Elia Folch are in a share of seventh on six-under-par.
Three players sit in T10 after 36 holes as Wales’ Becky Morgan, France’s Emma Grechi and Czechia’s Sara Kouskova all have a total of five-under-par.
The cut fell at +1 with 69 players making it through to the final day of competition.