Leona Maguire returned a rock solid two-under-par 70 that finds her just two shots off the lead after day two of the Ladies European Tour’s Final Stage Lalla Aicha Tour School.
Playing the more difficult Palm Golf Ourika track, the Cavan professional carded three birdies and just one dropped shot in another accomplished display.
Now in a share of 5th spot on six-under-par, Maguire remains right in the mix to earn her Main Tour status next season but admits she’ll need more putts to drop over the coming days if she is to reach her target.
“I had a couple of birdies out there,” she said of a round that left her wanting more. “I played really nicely tee to green but didn’t hole as many putts as I would have liked. It was nice to finish with a good birdie on the last.
“I played Amelkis last week which is a bit shorter and I quite like it over there. The greens are a bit different, which makes it a little tricky switching between the two but they are both nice courses. It’s a long week so I’m taking one day at a time.”
And so she should. There will be a cut to the leading 60 players and ties after 72 holes. After 90 holes, the top five will earn category 5c membership while those in positions six to 25 will earn category 8 membership of the LET for 2019. Maguire will be aiming for top prize no doubt but it’s a credit to her wise head on young shoulders that she remains calm despite her inner expectations.
It’s a tight at the top of the leaderboard too as three players moved into a share of the lead.
Belgian Leslie Cloots (67), England’s Sian Evans (68) and Swede Linnea Ström (66) share the lead on eight-under-par, one clear of Germany’s Esther Henseleit (69), who also played her second round at Amelkis Golf Club.
Evans, 27, from Gillingham, who has been crowdfunding to cover her trip to Tour School, said: “I started off pretty well. I had quite a few birdies in a row and I holed a few putts, which got the momentum going. I birdied 10 and then just stayed steady and made lots of pars coming in.”
She credited her coach, former European Tour player Zane Scotland, for helping her to find more consistency in her swing.
Cloots, 24, from Antwerp, said: “I had a fun round today. I had six birdies and one bogey. The weather is nice and the course is in great shape.
I played here last week so I feel really confident. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Ström, who won pre-qualifying B at Amelkis last week by six strokes, with a winning 72-hole total of 23-under-par, continued her love affair with the golf course.
The 22-year-old from Hovas said: “I played very steady and was good from the tee box, so I gave myself a lot of good shots into the green. I had an eagle on number 15, which helped me a lot. I hit a good drive and then a 4-iron and made a five-metre putt. It’s a fun course to play and the greens are rolling well.”
Henseleit, from Hamburg, who has been billed as a future star of European women’s golf, was a little frustrated with her round, but said afterwards: “I started really well with two birdies on the first two holes and I played some easy pars. On the ninth hole, I made a stupid bogey, but I thought, ‘there are more birdies out there’. I made two more on 11 and 14 and then finished with minus three. I think the Palm Golf Ourika is more difficult because if you hit a bad shot, it is much worse than here. I feel that at Amelkis you have more open space around the greens.”
The first round leader, Astha Madan from India, sits in tied 10th spot with Nadine Dreher from Austria.
Madan had a nightmare start after taking a quintuple bogey nine on the 10th hole at Palm Golf Ourika, but she recovered with four birdies on the back nine, before carding two bogeys on the front in a 74.
Madan explained: “I started with a tee shot where I slipped because the grass was a bit wet in the morning and I fumbled here and there but got through the hole. I knew I was hitting it well so I started off with the same mind-set, one shot at a time and here I am.
“Of course it’s not how I wanted to start but I knew it was one of those things I wanted to get out of the way. After that I committed to every putt. I could see the line today and I dropped a few birdies. Two bogeys caught me but it was still there.”
Of the other notable players, Bronte Law is tied for 14th and LET regulars Chloé Leurquin and Vikki Laing are tied for 25thspot on one-under-par.