|Germany's Caroline Masson
Caroline Masson carded a second successive round of 69 to post a 36-hole total of six under par and set the clubhouse lead before being joined by Celine Palomar (67) shortly after on a hot and sunny morning at the Tenerife Open de España Femenino.
Masson, the recent South African Women’s Open champion, had three birdies at holes five, eight and 16 at Golf Las Américas.
The 23-year-old from Gladbeck in Germany said: “I’m pretty happy with that. I played really consistent both days and was bogey free today. I think I didn’t hit them as close today as yesterday but I had a chip-in and had two good putts and had some close ones as well. Overall it was a good two days and I’m looking forward to the weekend.”
The current European No.4 was happy to have been part of the first group out in the morning and take advantage of the freshly prepared greens, although the heat was intense even early in the day.
“Coming from Hoylake, it’s a slight difference here. I’m really enjoying the sun and it’s a little hot sometimes but you just drink enough water and keep hydrated and enjoy the nice views on the course,” she said.
Palomar made her move with six birdies and dropped only one shot at the par four ninth, which she played as her last. She considered the driving the best part of her game, as she hit 12 of 14 fairways, with 27 putts.
The 29-year-old from Avranches in Normandy, France, has close ties with Spain and has lived in Galicia with her Spanish husband for the last six years.
She practices at Seve’s course, Real Golf de Pedreña and is coached by his brother, Vicente, who is caddying this week.
“It’s nice having Vicente on the bag. This is the second time he’s caddied for me as he also caddied in Switzerland. He helps in club selection and reading the greens.”
“I’m feeling a little bit at home. I’m French so I have two home opens,” said Palomar, who turned professional in 2009 but earned her full Ladies European Tour card for the first time this year. She played on the Spanish Banesto Tour, Generali Ladies Tour and LET Access Series for the last four years, before finishing seventh at LET Tour School for the 2012 season.
Her best finish on the LET this year is a tie for 18th at the Ladies Irish Open and she is currently lying 98th on the ISPS Handa Order of Merit. When asked if she was surprised to be in the hunt for her maiden title, she said: “I’m not surprised because I know I’m working in a good direction. I knew one day sooner or later it would come. I have played well but now I have already forgotten it. Tomorrow is another day and golf is a difficult game.”
Overnight leader Nikki Garrett of Australia had a nightmare start to her second round as she double bogeyed the par-four third hole slipping from eight under to six under. She birdied the next but dropped a shot at the sixth. She then birdied the seventh but bogeyed the eighth for an outward total of two over par and remained two over for the day though 15 holes.
England’s Laura Davies was eight under par and tied for the lead with Garrett yet to tee off. However after five birdies in her first 10 holes, she dropped back to five under with a triple bogey on the ninth.
After saving pars with some superb chipping on her last nine holes, Davies drove into a tricky spot behind a group of palm trees on the par-four ninth hole and then threaded her second shot through the trees but hit a sign board. She took two more shots to get to the green and then had three putts.
She dropped to five under alongside Esther Choe, Sophie Sandolo and Stacey Keating, with Hannah Burke and Nontaya Srisawang a stroke further behind.
Spanish rookie Carlota Ciganda made a move up the leader board with a 70 to end three under par, which could have been even better had she not dropped two shots in her last three holes.
She was tied on three under with local player Sara Beautell Largo from Tenerife and Carly Booth of Scotland.
There will be a 36-hole cut to the leading 60 professionals and those tied at the end of the second round.