Parker stretches lead to two strokes

Florentyna Parker continued to lead the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco after a second round of one under par 71 on the Blue Course at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam in Rabat on Friday.

At six under par, the 26-year-old Englishwoman was two strokes ahead of compatriot Liz Young and Frenchwoman Isabelle Boineau at the halfway stage. Parker picked up two birdies on the 11th and 18th against one bogey on the par-5 sixth hole.

“I was really pleased with my round as it was windy this morning,” she said. “I hit one really close on 11 which I bogeyed yesterday, so I was quite pleased and birdied 18, which was my ninth. There were some solid pars, a few up and downs and a wild bogey but other than that it was quite steady. It’s always quite hard to come back after a really good round.”

While Parker is aiming for her third Ladies European Tour victory following wins at the 2010 ABN AMRO Ladies Open and 2014 Italian Open, her friends Boineau and Young are both well placed to challenge for their first titles on the LET this weekend.

Boineau heeded Parker’s advice by purchasing a book showing the contours of the greens which she used during her second successive round of 70. The third year player from Marseille said: “I followed her smart idea and bought one and it worked really well. I’ve been putting really well from two metres to four metres and the book really helped for the long putts as well to get a good distance. The greens look really flat but there are a lot of slopes. They are really pure and roll perfectly.”

Young’s level par round of 72 contained two birdies and two bogeys on the front nine, with nine steady pars on the back. “It was a level par round, out in level, back in level, but I didn’t start off very well,” said Young, who is four months pregnant with her first child. “It took me until the seventh hole to hit a green so I was wondering what the day would bring. I managed to start striking it better but the last four holes I felt like I was crawling around the golf course and now I’m going to go to bed.”

Defending champion Gwladys Nocera, who won the title last year in Agadir, is one of four players who are two strokes further back on after a second round 69. She shares fourth with Nuria Iturrios of Spain and Finnish pair Krista Bakker and Noora Tamminen. Moroccan star Maha Haddioui is eight shots off the lead on two over par after a second round of 74.

While Parker leads on six under par on the Blue Course at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam, Italian rookie Francesco Laporta leads the Trophée Hassan II on the Red Course by the same score.