Chloe Williams from Wales carded a second round of seven-under-par 65 to take a one-stroke lead into the final round of the inaugural Mallorca Ladies Golf Open.
The 28-year-old from Wrexham, looking for her first win on the LET, made nine birdies and two bogeys at Golf Son Muntaner on Friday, moving ahead of Germany’s Alexandra Forsterling, who shot a five-under-par 67.
First-round leader Kristyna Napoleaova carded a level par 72 and lies in third position.
Williams, now at nine-under-par for the tournament, said: “Today was fantastic. I didn’t do much different to yesterday. I played such solid golf yesterday but didn’t hole the putts. Today I had more patience and they dropped.”
The shot of the day was a three-quarter 7-iron shot which she hit to within three feet of the flag on the par-3 second.
The Wrexham AFC supporter, who sits in 33rd place on the Race to Costa del Sol, explained how a more aggressive strategy has turned her game around since late August.
“After the Scottish Open, I was outside the top 100 on the order of merit so I had to basically accept the fact that I would potentially be going back to Tour School if I didn’t turn my game around. My dad’s my coach so we reviewed the last couple of months and my game wasn’t horrendous. My strategy was too conservative at times so I’m playing a little bit more aggressively now and that’s worked. It’s given me the opportunity to make more birdies and it’s given me confidence from there, not only to feel that I belong but also to believe that I have the potential to win tournaments.”
Both Forsterling and Napoleaova have won LET titles this year, in the VP Bank Swiss Ladies Open and Amundi German Masters respectively.
Forsterling’s round included eight birdies and two bogeys and she said afterwards: “It was fun. We made a lot of birdies in the group and Sara [Kjellker] played great as well, so we kept going and I had a really nice stretch on my back nine with five birdies in a row, which is always nice.
“There were two reachable par fives and that helped because I hit the green in two shots, twice. Before that, I had a putt that lipped in and sometimes it goes in your direction.”
Napoleova had to fight for her 72. She carded three birdies in her first eight holes but then gave three back with back-to-back double bogeys on the ninth and 10th, followed by a bogey on 11. However, she recovered with birdies on 15 and 17.
“It was frustrating considering how I played the first couple of holes,” she said. “Hopefully one day I’ll play boring golf. I had a good start and a couple of birdie chances which I missed, made three birdies, three-under through eight and then I made a mistake just from holding the club, I made a double. Another couple of bad holes. I wasn’t sure if I would manage to come back, which I did, and level par for today is key and we’ll see for tomorrow. I think I will be able to shoot a good score, but you never know. I hope that tomorrow isn’t going to get the better of me. It’s a fresh start and we are still in the position to get that trophy.”
South African Lee-Anne Pace and Marta Sanz Barrio from Spain are tied for fourth place on five-under-par, with five further players on four-under-par: Trichat Cheenglab, Avani Prashanth, Caroline Hedwall, Anne Van Dam and Jana Melichova.
With the Race to Costa del Sol set to reach an exciting conclusion at the Andalucia Costa del Sol Open de España in Marbella next week, the top 70 players will retain their cards for 2024 and the pressure is on Sanz Barrio in particular.
Starting this week in Mallorca ranked 82nd, she is projected to move to 62nd as things stand, but it will all come down to tomorrow’s final round.
“Next week I am playing as an invite, so my result won’t count towards the Race to Costa del Sol Rankings. This is my only chance,” she said.
“I wish I was 20th in the OOM and then I wouldn’t have this pressure, but I’m playing well, I’ve positioned myself well and hopefully I can have a good round tomorrow.”
The final round gets under way at 9.40am. Follow all the action live on TV and through LET social media.