Mehaffey digs deep to secure weekend action at SA Women’s Open

Kevin Kent

Olivia Mehaffey (Photo: Tristan Jones/LET)

Kevin Kent

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Manon De Roey takes the lead of the SA Women’s Open after overcoming the elements on Erinvale GC to shoot five-under in round two. Olivia Mehaffey was another to shine in difficult conditions on Friday as the wind would get the better of Lauren Walsh, seeing her bow out early this week.

Today required a fightback from Mehaffey as she took to the 10th tee box this morning to push for the weekend. This would be delivered with interest as the ASU graduate struck instantly with an impressive eagle on her par-4 opener. She went on to follow that with birdie on her next hole and this was just the shot in the arm required to set the tone for her tilt on day two. There were no dropped shots on her opening nine and she would register two more birdies on the par-5 16th and par-4 17th to turn in 31, five-under for the round.

This propelled her up the leaderboard and she was now in with a great shout of extending her stay in Erinvale through the weekend. Her homeward nine proved a more challenging affair though, as the wind picked up. Three straight pars to begin were  followed by another birdie on the par-4 4th, but dropped shots on the 6th and again on the 9th would see her reach the clubhouse on +3 having carded 68 and one of the rounds of the day.

Mehaffey would have to sit and wait though, as when she finished, she sat on the projected cutline at lunchtime. The wind would come to her aid as the afternoon groups continued to struggle however, and she will return tomorrow buoyed by an excellent performance today.

Walsh had an altogether different experience and the Castlewarden player will have plenty of time to reflect over the weekend as her +4 round sees her contribution end early this week. Starting on the first in the early morning groups, it was the front-nine today that inflicted the damage for Walsh. Minor consolation is the fact that the conditions had a major part to play as there were plenty of big numbers on show again, notably a sextuple-bogey 10 on the second last today from South African Gabrielle Ventner.

Her compatriot and amateur player Ellandri van Heerden will look to banish all memory of this week from her consciousness having carded 95-92 to sit bottom on +43.

The conditions were no match for Belgian Manon De Roey who had an imperious round in the wind and was the only player to out score Olivia Mehaffey on day two. Her 67 saw her leapfrog overnight leader Rosie Davies to sit one clear at the top on -8. Sweden’s Lisa Pettersson lies two strokes back on five-under, tied with Annabell Fuller for third spot. On a day where under-par rounds were at a premium, there is ground to be made by anyone who can go low as we look to moving day.

Speaking after her finish today, the leader gave her thoughts on the conditions facing the pack this week: “It was really tough out there, but I had something similar at the beginning of the year in a tournament in Saudi Arabia, which was also very windy. So maybe that helped me for this week. I just tried to stay patient and pick my lines off the tee well and have the wind as my friend. When it’s windy like this I feel like I’m always more focused. You just have to stay patient because I know it’s possible to shoot low scores in wind like this. Maybe I need the wind on the weekend.” An ominous signal for the field from De Roey.

Olivia Mehaffey takes to the first tee tomorrow in a blockbuster three-ball with Lee-Anne Price and Shannon Tan at 9.10am in Cape Town. A repeat of today and she can make impressions on the leaderboard if conditions allow.


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