A bridge too far for the Irish, but all to play for in the Roman countryside

Kevin Kent

Lauren Walsh (Photo: Tristan Jones/LET)

Kevin Kent

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It was not to be for the Irish duo in Lazio as Olivia Mehaffey’s overnight withdrawal was compounded with a missed cut for Lauren Walsh after another tough day around Golf Nazionale.

The oak lined course was proving a tough nut to crack again on day two of the Ladies Italian Open as Walsh took to the course in the early morning groups but would start with a double and a single bogey. Despite a decent day off the tee and four birdies on her way around, she couldn’t get her irons hot and the gap to the cut line would prove to be insurmountable as she finished her day with a 74 (+2). With a Sunday off there will be plenty of time to take stock before heading to the Czech Republic for yet another National Championship next week.

Elsewhere on course today England’s Amy Taylor was out in the early groups and her 67 (-5) put a marker down in the clubhouse at -7 for the tournament. The overnight leading trio had their own travails at Golf Nazionale with Australia’s Rudgeley carding a 74 to drop back from top spot. Meanwhile, Spaniard Fatima Fernandez Cano was going well through her opening nine only to come unstuck with a treble on the par-5 1st to start of her back nine and she’d have to settle for a 73.

There was upward movement however, with Shannon Tan’s 68 leaving her well placed on -5 for the tournament while, year 20-year-old Slovenian Pia Babnik would go one better with her 67 putting her right at the sharp end of proceedings and level with Tan. If consistency is the secret this week, then Switzerland’s Tiffany Arafi is one to watch on the final day. Having shared the lead overnight with an impressive 66 on Friday, Arafi kept it neat and tidy today to go around in par to leave her one shot off the lead on -6 heading into Sunday. With the top nine separated by just three shots, Sunday in Italy is set for a shootout in the sunshine in Lazio.

Coming from the bunch in the morning groups to lead heading into the final day, Amy Taylor was naturally upbeat. “I’m happy with how I played,” Taylor said. “I was bogey-free for quite a lot of holes. I did make one on my 16th (the 7th), but overall, I was happy with how I played. I really like the course. I think it’s quite challenging off the tee which is usually a strength in my game. I think that helps.”

Coming off the back of a solid week in the LETAS just last week Taylor was confident in her prospects after her day: “I put a new putter in the bag last week, so it’s working! I played last week and finished fourth on the [LET] Access Series. That was a good result and made me feel more confident. My game felt good coming into this week so hopefully I can do well again tomorrow.”

The leading group take to the course at 9.50 tomorrow with Taylor, Arafi and Babnik going into battle on the Colosseum that is Golf Nazionale, and they have plenty of company with the preceding group of Dagar, Tan and Fernandez Cano lurking with intent.


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