Italian Veronica Zorzi fired a second round of four under par 68 in misty conditions at Suzhou Taihu International Golf Club on Saturday to take a two stroke lead into the final round of the Suzhou Taihu Ladies Open.
Only Zorzi, who ended the day at 11-under, stands between Carlota Ciganda’s attempts to secure her second Suzhou Taihu Ladies Open title at the course over which she triumphed by seven strokes 12 months ago.
However, it’s tight at the top with nine players within three shots of the lead. Ciganda (68) is joined by Ashleigh Simon (70) and Anne-Lise Caudal (65) two shots back at nine under par.
Charley Hull (66), Gwladys Nocera (67), Na Zhang (67), Nontaya Srisawang (67) and Beth Allen (66) are tied for fifth place on eight under par. Last week’s Sanya Ladies Open winner Lee-Anne Pace will go into the final round five shots adrift.
You have to go back seven years for Zorzi’s last victory, which came when she successfully defended at the 2006 Open de France. But the 33-year-old Italian has given herself every chance of ending her barren spell with six birdies against two bogeys on the score card.
Zorzi said: “It was a pretty good day. I hit 16 greens, so the long game was good. I had 30 putts, made two bogeys. One on number six, that was my 15th, because I went into the bunker with the drive and didn’t have a nice lie so had to chip out, play to the green and two putts. The other bogey on 15 was three putts but I was very far away from the hole.
“There are so many good players. With 18 holes to play anything can happen. If I can continue to play like this then we’ll see what happens on the last hole. I don’t want to put any pressure on myself. I just want to continue to play like this. Maybe someone can shoot 10 under, you never know. Golf is golf. I’m happy. After such a long time, it’s nice to be the leader again.”
Ciganda’s last victory on the Ladies European Tour, apart from as a member of the European Solheim Cup team, came at the UniCredit Ladies German Open in early June but she is confident that she can overturn the deficit.
“It was a good day today. I did four under so I’m happy with my round and played good golf,” Ciganda said. “It was a shame that I had a bogey on my 16th hole because I had a putt for birdie and I three putted but I’m playing good, hitting good shots and happy to have a chance tomorrow. I’m just going to try to keep playing my game, playing one shot at a time. There are good players playing solid golf so it’s not going to be easy. Only one player is going to win this tournament so hopefully it can be me.”
Simon, who returned from hip surgery early in the season, was happy with her round and hopes to secure her third win on the LET and first since the 2011 Portugal Ladies Open.
She said: “I hit is just as good as yesterday, if not better. I hit 15 greens, the putts just didn’t drop. I hit a lot of good putts but they seemed to just lip out instead of going in. I had 31 putts today.”
At the end of the second round, 71 players made the cut at plus one, including four amateurs, with 17-year-old Jing Yan the best placed in a tie for 10th with Holly Clyburn.
The third and final round will be played from two tees, starting at 9.10am local time, with the leaders out from the first hole at 11am.