Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 1 December 2020

Caroline Hedwall maintains lead after second round of Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic

Swede remains confident after posting 2-under par 70 at Emirates Golf Club

Caroline Hedwall maintained her lead through the second round of the Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic on Thursday.

The Swede, who finished the opening day of the 54-hole event two ahead of the pack, saw her overnight advantage halved after posting a 2-under par 70 at Emirates Golf Club. She tops the leaderboard on 9-under.

England’s Meghan MacLaren sits second going into the final found following a 67, while Minjee Lee, the highest-ranked player in the field, carded the lowest round of the day – 65 – to come in two back, on 7-under. She shares third place with Germany’s Laura Fuenfstueck.

Former world No 1 and two-time major champion Lydia Ko, making her UAE debut, remains three shots back after a second-round 70 that included three birdies and a bogey.

“I've been playing very steady, hitting a lot of greens and I’ve been good within two metres of the hole,” said Hedwall, after her second bogey-free round on the Faldo Course.

“Today I had a lot of putts that didn’t drop, so maybe 5-under would have been a fair score. But I’m in a good position for tomorrow and I am happy with my game.”

Hedwall’s bid for an eighth victory on the Ladies European Tour was sparked by a hole-in-one on Wednesday, which landed the 31-year-old a watch from the tournament sponsors.

“I did watch the hole-in-one a couple of times yesterday; it was an amazing feeling seeing it in the hole,” she said. “It was actually my second slam dunk, having made one at Evian [Championship] but my sixth in total, my fourth in competition.

"I've never won anything, though. I won an Omega in India in my rookie year so this will add to my collection.”

On preparing for a big Friday, Hedwall said: “I'm going to try and get my energy up, relax and chill. I'm actually studying criminology at the moment to try and get a degree – it's nice to have something to focus on when you are back in the room.

“It's stressful at times with 100 per cent of the course completed remotely. I’ve been doing lots of essays and I have one to do tonight as the deadline is tomorrow.”

Lee, meanwhile, looms large on the leaderboard, courtesy of the world No 9’s superb round among the early starters of the day-night event on Thursday.

The Australian reeled off six birdies going out, and had climbed to 8-under only to bogey her penultimate hole.

“I got off to a pretty hot start, nice to start off with that many birdies,” Lee said. “I wasn’t able to get many more on the back nine, but I'm pleased with my day. I feel like I had a look for birdie on every hole.

Having opened her tournament under the floodlights on Wednesday, Lee said: “I have played night golf once in Korea, but that was just for fun. This is my first time competitively and to play at night is something so different to the professional game. I think it will attract a lot of the younger generation.

“I don’t mind being inside until tomorrow’s afternoon round because it is so hot out here and I’m just going to trust I’ve done enough practice last week before I came out here."

MacLaren, Hedwall’s closest challenger and another who played at night in Round 1, said: “It’s a strange course because it doesn’t look like a course you can score on. Level par is a good place to be, but once you get your rhythm you can get going.

“I thought I’d find the greens easier today, but to be honest I didn’t. I don’t know if I am overthinking it now but, on the whole, I’ve been rolling it well all week.

"It’s the biggest improvement of my game and I feel that I can take advantage of my good play and make more out of my rounds."

Updated: November 5, 2020 10:28 PM

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