New South Wales amateur Jihye Park and Justine Dreher of France moved into a share of the halfway lead on day two of the Women’s NSW Open in Australia.
Park, 17, from Sydney, shot a bogey free seven-under-par 64 while Dreher carded a 69 in benign conditions at Coffs Harbour Golf Club.
At six-under-par, the pair sit a stroke ahead of French rookie Manon Mollé, Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras of Thailand and Norwegian LET rookie Marita Engzelius (below).
England’s Meghan MacLaren, Lydia Hall of Wales, Olivia Cowan of Germany and Camilla Lennarth of Sweden share sixth place on four-under-par.
Dreher started her round with an eagle on the driveable par-4 first hole, where she made a putt from five feet, but there were also four birdies and four bogeys on her card.
The 25-year-old from Paris said afterwards: “I’m really happy with my game and the position that I’m in.
“This is my fifth week on tour and together with the other French players, we’ve been saying, if there is anywhere that you’d like to be away for, for five weeks, other than at home, the best place is Australia. We are really having a lot of fun. There are some great things to do around here and the weather has been great and it’s snowing at home, so it’s been really nice to spend some time here.”
Dreher will be looking to improve on her career best finish of fifth, recorded in her first event as a professional, in the 2016 New Zealand Open, where she played in the last group with the winner, Lydia Ko.
She will play with another Korean-born Antipodean teenager in the third round of the Women’s NSW Open. Park made seven birdies and posted a new course record on Friday but was still disappointed that she had missed a six-footer on 17, which would have given her a 63.
“I’ve shot a bunch of course records,” said the home-schooled teenager, who moved to the Sydney suburb of St Clair from Korea with her parents 11 years ago. “That’s what I do!” she joked.
“I was playing really well today, and everything was going in the hole, it was just like a vacuum,” she added.
“The speed was really good, and the ball striking was good too, but there were some holes where I missed the green and managed to get up and down. My chipping was also good and I scrambled well.
“This is my fourth professional event after the NSW Open, the NZ Open and Bonville and I was pleased to make the cut last weekend. I’m getting used to playing in pro events and today felt like a normal game. I think I was in the zone. I was just talking to myself, telling myself that I was going well and controlling my mind throughout the day.”
First round co-leader Mollé, who is playing in only her fourth event as a professional, made a wobbly start and dropped three strokes in her first three holes, after finding the greenside bunkers on the 11th and 12th holes. She fought back with four birdies, only to drop a shot on the ninth, where she missed the green.
The 23-year-old from Brittany said: “I made a really bad start and got plugged in a bunker on 11, but after that, I knew that I could make a lot of birdies. I stayed patient and made a birdie on the par-3 15th, then the 18th, and holes one and three. If I hadn’t bogeyed the last hole, I would have been satisfied. Coming here, I only wanted to make the cut, but now I would really like to get a top-10, if not a win.”
One shot back, fellow overnight co-leader Silvia Bañon from Spain carded a 73 and slipped back into a share of 10th position on three-under-par alongside Sweden’s Jenny Haglund and Australian trio Rebecca Artis, Sarah Kemp and Emily McLennan, a second-year member of the ALPG (below).