Three-time LET winner Nuria Iturrioz continued her fine form at the Andalucia Costa Del Sol Open De Espana, posting a second round of 70 (-2) to lead by two shots at eight-under-par from Scotland’s Kelsey Macdonald as darkness stopped play at 6.00pm.
With half of the field still to complete their second round, it wasn’t quite the Spanish sun that many are accustomed to in the Costa del Sol but it stayed dry on day two and home-favourite Nuria Itturioz took full advantage of the scoring opportunity, completing as many as 26 holes in an action packed day in Andalucia.
Chasing her first title since the 2019 OMEGA Dubai Moonlight Classic, the 25-year-old started her round with a trio of consecutive birdies from the 10th, only to stumble with bogeys on No. 4 and 8.
Looking to become only the second Spanish player in history to win the prestigious tournament, Iturrioz got back to work on the front nine (her back nine), coming home in 34 strokes to assume the halfway lead.
“I feel like I have been playing for four days now. I hit a lot of good shots today and made a few putts, I am happy. It would mean a lot for me to win but there is a lot of golf still to play and still the weekend. I hope I can have the trophy on Sunday, but you never know.”
Known for her smiley and passionate demeanour on-course , Iturrioz was seen laughing in the rain of yesterday and commented; “I was smiling yesterday because I remembered my win in Morocco and the weather was similar then so I just managed to get through it. I am glad I kept my patience.”
Paired together with the current Race to Costa del Sol leader and four-time winner in 2020, Emily Kristine Pedersen, Iturrioz watched as the Dane struggled to find her best form but maintained pace with a one-under-par round of 71.
Finishing in style with a birdie on the 18th to keep touch with the leader, the 24-year-old dialled in a ‘three-quarter nine-iron to 5ft’ before rolling home for a successful day’s work.
With Kelsey Macdonald and Sanna Nuutinen unable to complete their second round, the Dane will have to wait until tomorrow before she learns whether they are paired together in the final group on Saturday but added,
“It’s good being paired with Nuria, she’s fiery and it is fun saying Vamos with her when she holes putts and it is good to play with someone making a lot of birdies because I feel like it is pushing me to make more birdies. It is always fun to play to play with somebody that’s making a lot of birdies.”
The five-time LET winner already holds an unassailable lead atop the Race to Costa del Sol but continued,
“I always come to win, it is difficult to stay motivated not because of what has happened before but because I am at the end of the stretch and I am getting a little tired but I am ready to give it my all at the weekend.”
Sandwiched in between Iturrioz and Pedersen at six-under-par in solo second is Scotland’s Kelsey Macdonald. The 30-year-old still has as many as 11 holes to play tomorrow morning but ended her round in style, holing out from 111 yards for eagle on the par five 7th hole, moments before the horn sounded.
“I hit a seven-iron to leave my favourite number which is 111 and hit my 50 degree wedge, it was playing long and cold out there this afternoon so it was great to get that shot in before sleeping tonight. I’m looking forward to tomorrow already.”
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