|Caroline Martens from Norway played her second round at Samanah GC
Norwegian Caroline Martens and Tessa Teachman of the United States fired matching rounds of 71 on the Samanah and Al Maaden golf courses in Marrakech respectively to share the lead at six-under-par after the second round at the Ladies European Tour’s Lalla Aicha Tour School Final Qualifying for 2014.
The pair ended the second round a stroke ahead of England’s Anna Scott and Italian Sophie Sandolo in the five-round examination, with first round leader Rebecca Sorensen of Sweden and Austrian amateur Nina Muehl a stroke behind on four-under-par.
After four rounds, there will be a cut to the leading 60 players and those tied. After 90 holes, the top 30 and those tied will earn a full card in category 8a.
Playing in warm and sunny conditions with a slight breeze, Martens was the outright leader on eight-under-par after 33 holes, but bogeyed holes 16 and 17.
The 26-year-old from Oslo said: “I’ve been playing well so I’m very happy with where I’m standing at the moment. I played very steady, hitting it close to the pin, making good putts and then I was three-under for a while but had two bogeys coming in: one three-putt which was just a very difficult putt and I didn’t make the second one and then on 17, just hit it a little left of the pin and didn’t get up and down; then a par on 18.”
Martens has played in 13 tournaments on the LET Access Series in 2013, with a career best tie for second at the Kristianstad Ahus Ladies Open, but she dislocated both shoulders which set her back through the latter part of the season, meaning she finished eighth on the LETAS order of merit, just outside the top five that earn a full card for the LET.
“I worked really hard on getting back with the people at the Olympic Centre in Norway and I finished off the season well,” she continued.
Scott, a two-year member of the LET, has also overcome injury and said: “I only played two events in 2012 because of my back and this is the first time I’ve really been able to play. When I hurt my back I didn’t know if I would be able to play again.”
Scott played in two LETAS events late this season and led after round one of the Pre-Qualifier A in Rabat. “I was so nervous because I didn’t know how I would react to this but I’m playing better than I did before I had my back problems,” said the 27-year-old from Newcastle. “I’ve got a new coach and he’s helped with my back so it’s nice to see that the stuff I’m doing is working because I haven’t played for so long.”
Sorensen followed up her opening 66 on the Al Maaden course with a 74 at Samanah Golf Club and said: “The main difference is the greens. They are way tougher here, lots of undulations and little humps that you can’t see, so I had three three-putts today and shot two-over, so other than that, my game is still good. I hit it straight and well but my putting was a little short today.”
Another player who found Samanah’s greens trickier was 26-year-old Muehl, who has recently completed an MBA at East Tennessee University.
She said: “Yesterday I was hitting it really close so it was short birdie putts and no mistakes putting wise. Today I had longer irons into the greens and longer putts too, but it was okay.”
Round three gets under way at 9am local time on both courses, with the leading players out last at 10.27am from the first tee.