Aditi extends lead to 5 shots at halfway stage in Kenya; Amandeep, Avani make cut

VIPINGO (Kenya), Feb 3:  Aditi Ashok, coming into the new season after almost two months without golf, continued her fine run as she extended her lead from four to five shot at the halfway stage of the Magical Kenya Ladies Open.

The star Indian, who already has three Ladies European titles, including one at home, shot 3-under 70 at the Par-73 Vipingo Ridge course.

She had shot 6-under 67 on the first day when she led by four shots and is now five clear of the field.

Aditi, who had six birdies and an eagle against two bogeys on the first day, had just one bogey on the second. She started on the 10th with a birdie and then had nine pars till her next two birdies on second and third holes.

A bogey on the fifth and a birdie on the seventh, which she had eagled a day earlier saw her finish the day at 3-under 70 and a total of 9-under 137.

The 2022 Hero Women’s Indian Open runner-up Amandeep Drall ensured weekend action after shooting another 74. She is 2-over through 36 holes and is tied 21st.

India’s prodigious amateur Avani Prashanth, playing on an invite, also made the cut despite three bogeys in her last six holes. She was 1-under in the second round through 12 holes and then bogeyed 13th, 14th and 16th for a second straight 75. At 4-over she was tied 33rd.

Diksha Dagar (78-80), Vani Kapoor (81 and 4-over through 17 in the second) and Seher Atwal (81 and 4-over through 16 in the second) were certain to miss the cut.

Aditi said, “It has been a great start to the tournament. Yesterday was a much better round, I didn’t know how I was playing coming into this week because of two months of no tournament golf, but I think nine-under after two days is pretty good. Hopefully, I can keep it going for the weekend.”

Teenaged Thai golfer April Angurasaranee, who came through the Let Qualifying School added a second straight 71 to get to 4-under and was sole second.

Spain’s Marta Sanz Barrio (71-72) was sole third at 3-under, while three players were tied for fourth at 2-under each.

Only Alice Hewson (71-73), playing alongside Aditi, had finished. Ana Pelaez Trivino of Spain and Kylie Henry of Scotland were both 2-under but had played only nine holes in their second round.

Aditi was happy with her play in the second round. “It was good. I think for the most part I played pretty consistently today, there was just one dropped shot, which was good. I feel I could have driven it a bit better and hit it closer than I did but overall, it was a good day,” said Aditi.

“I don’t know why my driving was a little off. Maybe I didn’t warm up as well this morning or I guess when the wind picked up, I couldn’t find my rhythm. It’s easy on this course to hit 3-woods as well so that kind of helped me a bit, but definitely the drives I couldn’t get good angles into some of the holes and some of the par-fives, I didn’t drive it long enough because I wasn’t driving it as good. It’s something to work on for the weekend.”

She added, “I think the morning is a bit easier because the wind isn’t as strong, and it hasn’t picked up as much. I guess as the wind gets up, the course is firm so it’s really hard to get the ball close — that’s what I felt between yesterday and today.”  (PTI)