Kristyna Napoleaova

England’s Georgia Hall and Czech rookie Kristyna Napoleaova are tied at the top on six-under-par at the halfway point of the Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by Public Investment Fund.

Hall, who shared the overnight lead alongside Sophie Witt, got off to a hot start with three consecutive birdies on holes 11 through to 13 and made the turn in 33 (-3).

As the wind started to pick up at the end of the morning, Hall made another birdie on the fourth but dropped a shot on the sixth to sign for a round of 69 and sit at six-under-par.

“The pins were a little trickier actually than yesterday. I’m pretty pleased with the way I played,” said the two-time Solheim Cup winner. “I was kind of just plodding around and it was a much steadier round today. I’ll take that into the weekend.

“It gives me a lot of confidence going into the weekend. That’s what happens with golf, sometimes you get good draw and sometimes a bad draw – that’s what happens. You’ve got to accept it, which I did. I don’t mind playing in the wind, so we’ll just see what happens.”

Napoleaova faced the tougher afternoon conditions on day two but breezed through her round firing a bogey-free 66 (-6) – one of three players to do so – to be level with Hall.

After an eagle on the fourth, the former footballer rolled in birdies on seven, nine and 13 before finishing her day with a flourish on 18 to seal a career-best round.

“It was a really good round. Even yesterday I felt like the course is running really well and the greens are pure. I feel this is exactly for me – apart from the wind,” said Napoleaova, who only began playing golf six years ago.

“I have a local caddie and we are from the same academy, so he walked me through it. It was really his help throughout; I was chilling out and not thinking about anything.

“I’m honoured to be in that group tomorrow. It’s going to be a lot of fun and I feel like I can learn a lot from these two, especially as they are incredible players. I’m enjoying every single minute of being here this week.”

Five-time LET winner Anne Van Dam also produced an excellent afternoon round firing a 69 (-3) to move to third place on four-under-par.

“It was probably one of the best three-under-pars of my career. Not one shot was easy out there, overall, I’m very pleased,” said the Dutch star.

“I hit a lot of good shots and actually created some good chances and holed a few good par putts. It was a good grind.”

Australia’s Steph Kyriacou also fired a 66 (-6) to climb up to fourth in the leaderboard as she began the day on three-over, but kickstarted her round with an eagle on the 13th before dropping a shot on the following hole.

However, it was her back nine where the two-time LET winner made inroads as she rolled in five birdies to put herself on three-under-par for the tournament and in a good position heading into the weekend.

“I hit good shots yesterday, but they would finish like 30 metres away from the pin,” said the 21-year-old, who finished third in last season’s Race to Costa del Sol.

“I hit good shots today and because there wasn’t much wind, I could actually hit them close and give myself chances.”

Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist shot a level-par round of 72 to sit in fifth place on two-under while three players are in a share of sixth place.

One of those is South Africa’s Lee-Anne Pace, who carded a bogey-free round of 67 (-5), to be alongside Wales’ Chloe Williams and England’s Cloe Frankish.

“We had perfect conditions and I came close to a really low round. I made three birdies in-a-row on the back nine and started nicely and got a bit of confidence,” said the 2010 LET Order of Merit winner.

“I pretty much had chances everywhere. I want to play well this week to prepare for the next two weeks in South Africa. To be hitting the ball like I’ve been hitting it is a great confidence booster.”

Seven players are tied for ninth place with 2020 Race to Costa del Sol champion Emily Kristine Pedersen, France’s Camille Chevalier, Spain’s Carlota Ciganda, England’s Bronte Law, Wales’ Becky Brewerton, Germany’s Sophie Witt and South Africa’s Nicole Garcia all on level par.

The cut fell at +7 with 63 players making it through to the weekend of the Aramco Saudi Ladies International.

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