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Ciganda stretches lead in China
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Carlota Ciganda: on target for second victory in her rookie year on Tour

Carlota Ciganda of Spain shot a second-round 70 at the China Suzhou Taihu Open on Saturday to take a two stroke lead into the final round at Suzhou Taihu International Golf Club.

The 22-year-old Ladies European Tour rookie from Pamplona started the day one stroke clear of the field at seven under par but was caught by early starter Caroline Masson of Germany, who fired a 69, before she had even started her second round.

Playing in wind and fog, Ciganda quickly moved two clear of her rival with birdies on the fourth and fifth holes. She dropped shots at 11 and 12 before recovering with birdies on 16 and 18 to end nine under and two clear of Masson.

Ciganda holds a slim lead over Masson on the Ladies European Tour’s ISPS Handa Order of Merit for 2012 and the first prize cheque of €52,500 could make all the difference, setting up an exciting final round battle between two of the most talented players on the tour.

“I’m confident and I’m playing good but its golf and anything can happen in one hole, one shot. Caroline Masson is second and she has been playing great golf this year so I know it’s not going to be easy and then there is another at six under: you need to be ready for anything. I will try to play my best,” said Carlota, who earned her first victory on the LET at the Deloitte Ladies Open in June.

“Today was harder and I think you needed to be more patient on the course. There was a lot of wind, sometimes it was strong, sometimes soft; it was changing all the time. I think you need to play in every situation and I would have preferred a day like yesterday but if it’s windy, it’s windy, the same for everyone.”

For Masson, a win here would consolidate her maiden victory at July’s South African Women’s Open and make amends for her second place finish at the recent Tenerife Open de Espana, where she was beaten by Stacey Keating in a play-off.

In typically consistent fashion, the 23-year-old from Gladbeck reeled off five birdies and two bogeys, playing in the tricky conditions in which she excels.

“It was tough out there today. It was a lot windier and tricky to judge. I hit the ball well and got close to the pins. I seem to play well in windy conditions because I’m used to it,” said Masson, who plotted her way around the golf course with a local caddie. “I think it helps sometimes to think your way around, think about pin positions, yardages. Sometimes you can get lazy. That was the same at the South African Women’s Open which I won.”

Last year’s French Open winner Felicity Johnson had a best-of-day 67 to shoot up into sole third position at six under and said it could have been even better had the birdie putts started rolling in sooner in the round.

“I just hit a lot of good iron shots into the greens and gave myself chances. I missed quite a few early on but I stayed patient and just kept hitting good shots and holed a few putts in the end.  If I really get the putter working tomorrow I could go low so the same again would be nice,” said Johnson, who is heading off to LPGA Final Qualifying School in December along with Masson.

Ciganda has effectively already qualified for the tour after strong performances in the the Evian Masters, US Open and British Open, which means that she will be able to play in the Hero Women’s Indian Open, which Masson is missing.

Meanwhile, Tania Elosegui of Spain (74), China’s Tao Li Yang (69), Walailak Satarak of the USA (70) and Canadian Samantha Richdale (68) are still in the hunt to be crowned the fifth Suzhou Taihu champion after they ended the day five shots off the lead in a share of fourth place on four under par.

China Suzhou Taihu Open

Suzhou Taihu International Golf Club (par 72)

26-28 October 2012

Scores at the end of round 2:

135 - Carlota Ciganda (ESP)  65 70

137 - Caroline Masson (DEU)  68 69

138 - Felicity Johnson (ENG)  71 67

140 - Tania Elosegui (ESP)  66 74, Tao Li Yang (CHN)  71 69, Walailak Satarak (USA)  70 70, Samantha Richdale (CAN)  72 68

141 - Anne-Lise Caudal (FRA)  72 69, Lee-Anne Pace (ZAF)  68 73, Julie Greciet (FRA)  71 70, Xi Yu Lin (CHN)  71 70, Florentyna Parker (ENG)  67 74

142 - Gwladys Nocera (FRA)  69 73, Cassandra Kirkland (FRA)  68 74, Nikki Garrett (AUS)  71 71, Veronica Zorzi (ITA)  70 72, Xin Ying Wang (CHN)  71 71

143 - Qin Zhou (CHN)  72 71, Laura Davies (ENG)  70 73, Rebecca Hudson (ENG)  72 71, Patcharajutar Kongkraphan (THA)  72 71, Malene Jorgensen (DNK)  71 72, Ashleigh Simon (ZAF)  71 72, Stacey Keating (AUS)  72 71

144 - Jia Yun Li (CHN)  73 71, Caroline Afonso (FRA)  72 72, Jing Yan (CHN)  72 72, In Ji Bae (KOR)  72 72, Na Zhang (CHN)  69 75

145 - Sarah Kemp (AUS)  72 73, Jaruporn Palakawong Na Ayutthaya (THA)  74 71, Linda Wessberg (SWE)  71 74, Elizabeth Bennett (ENG)  71 74, Titiya Plucksataporn (THA)  75 70, Tiffany Tavee (USA)  74 71, Laurette Maritz (ZAF)  72 73, Minea Blomqvist (FIN)  72 73

146 - Tzu Chi Lin (TPE)  79 67, Lydia Hall (WAL)  74 72, Yan Hua Shen (CHN)  74 72, Kylie Walker (SCO)  77 69, Stacy Lee Bregman (ZAF)  73 73, Carly Booth (SCO)  72 74, Cai Zhu Guo (CHN)  74 72, Rebecca Codd (IRL)  74 72, Karen Lunn (AUS)  74 72

147 - Becky Brewerton (WAL)  71 76, Sophie Sandolo (ITA)  74 73, Georgina Simpson (ENG)  74 73, Tanaporn Kongkiatkrai (THA)  70 77, Hae Ra Park (KOR)  74 73, Smriti Mehra (IND)  75 72, Wen Wen Wang (CHN)  75 72

148 - Danielle Montgomery (ENG)  75 73, Yu Ting Shi (CHN)  71 77, Ajira Nualraksa (THA)  72 76, Ling Ling Tan (CHN)  71 77, Rachel Jennings (ENG)  74 74, Mei Ping Lu (CHN)  72 76, Liebelei Lawrence (LUX)  74 74, Ainil Johani Abu Bakar (MYS)  72 76, Trish Johnson (ENG)  74 74

149 - Lucie Andre (FRA)  73 76, Russamee Gulyanamitta (THA)  75 74, Stefanie Michl (AUT)  75 74, Jade Schaeffer (FRA)  75 74, Yi Chen Liu (TPE)  73 76, Jin Cui Yang (CHN)  73 76, Connie Chen (ZAF)  74 75, Yue Xia Lu (CHN)  75 74, Joanna Klatten (FRA)  76 73, Celine Palomar (FRA)  74 75, Charlotte Ellis (ENG)  75 74, Numa Gulyanamitta (THA)  76 73, Yu Yang Zhang (CHN)  74 75, Virginie Lagoutte-clement (FRA)  74 75, Sophie Giquel-Bettan (FRA)  75 74, Sahra Hassan (WAL)  74 75

Missed the cut:

150 - Beth Allen (USA)  77 73, Katherine Kempter (USA)  72 78, Louise Larsson (SWE)  77 73, Frances Bondad (AUS)  73 77, Hai Ying Zhang (CHN)  76 74, Yu Yu Zhang (CHN)  74 76

151 - Thidapa Suwannapura (THA)  75 76, Narisara Kerdrit (THA)  74 77, Yun Yan Bai (CHN)  74 77, Anais Maggetti (CHE)  77 74, Kym Larratt (ENG)  76 75, Ya Lan Shi (CHN)  78 73, Rebecca Artis (AUS)  73 78

152 - Dan Ting Cai (CHN)  77 75, Bree Arthur (AUS)  73 79, Pan Pan Yan (CHN)  77 75

153 - Guo Yan Gu (CHN)  78 75, Wannasiri Sirisampant (THA)  74 79

154 - Xin Wang (CHN)  78 76, Holly Aitchison (ENG)  77 77, Janya Morrakotphan (THA)  78 76

155 - Shuang Gao (CHN)  75 80, Praewnapa Phol-uayporn (THA)  75 80

156 - Pennapa Pulsawath (THA)  79 77, Valerie Tan (BRN)  75 81, Elin Emanuelsson (SWE)  79 77, Amolkan Phalajivin (THA)  76 80, Wei Wei Zhang (CHN)  78 78

157 - Saruttaya Ngam-usawan (THA)  80 77, Hsin Ning Yeh (TPE)  76 81, Pinrath Loomboonruang (THA)  75 82

158 - Wei Li (CHN)  80 78

159 - Yong Dong Gao (CHN)  80 79

160 - Panuma Vitayakonkomol (THA)  79 81, Dan Li (CHN)  81 79

163 - Elizabeth Smith (USA)  84 79

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