Women’s Indian Open: Austria's Christine Wolf runs ahead of pack in second round to take four-shot lead

Gurugram: After painting her scorecard liberally with red colours over a nine-hole stretch from the fifth to 13th with seven birdies, Austrian Christine Wolf seemed to run out of red paint over the last five holes in the second round of the Women’s Indian Open on Friday. Wolf, who had never shot a round in the 60s in her previous four visits to India, including three of them to this DLF Golf and Country Club course, has now done it twice in last two days.

 Women’s Indian Open: Austrias Christine Wolf runs ahead of pack in second round to take four-shot lead

Christine Wolf of Austria goes into Round 3 with a stroke cushion. Image Courtesy: Twitter @WomenIndianOpen

Her score of 68 gave her a huge four-shot lead over the Thailand’s Pannarat Thanpolboonyaras, who at one stage came as close as two shots with two holes left. The Thai then took a triple bogey ‘snowman 8’ on Par-5 eighth, her 17th hole, where she hit it into the water twice. A birdie on the ninth soothed her mood as she carded 72 and 4-under 140 but four behind Wolf at the halfway stage of the $ 500,000 Ladies European Tour event.

Norwegian Tonje Daffinrud, who opened the week with a stunning 6-under 66, shot 3-over 75 to slip to 3-under 141, but was still third.

In the morning Daffinrud (66-75) was moving well at 1-under through 13 holes, before she had a “crazy hole” on Par-4 14th, where she triple bogeyed and soon after that she dropped another shot on 15th. Those four lost shots in two holes brought her down to 75 for the day.

Tvesa Malik, playing making only her second appearance at the Hero Women’s Indian Open as a professional, carded one-under 71, but she felt it could have been way better. After rounds of 72-71 on the first two days, she was the best Indian at T-7th.

With as many as eight Indians, three of them amateurs, making the cut, it was a new high for Indian women’s golf. Apart from Tvesa, the others were Gaurika Bishnoi (71-74) at T-16th, Ridhima Dilawari (69-77) at T-27th, Vani Kapoor (77-73), Astha Madan (75-75) and amateur Pranavi Urs (76-74) at T-51st besides two more amateurs Sifat Sagoo (72-79) and Diksha Dagar (75-76) at T-61st.

This was the highest number of Indians making the cut in the history of the Hero Women’s Indian Open. Also auguring well for the next lot of Indian golfers, is that all three Indians, who represented India at the 2018 Asian Games, Ridhima Dilawari, Sifat Sagoo and Diksha Dagar made the cut, which fell at seven-over 151. Ridhima turned pro three weeks ago and finished T-4th in the domestic WPG Tour, in her only pro outing before this event.

Vani Kapoor, whose first 77 put her in the danger zone, played very well for most part of the round despite suffering from tendinitis. She reached 3-under through 13 holes for the day at one stage. Then she dropped a bogey on Par-4 14th and a crippling triple bogey on Par-5 15th. She hung in with three pars over the tough closing stretch and ended at 1-over 73 to survive the cut and live to fight over the weekend.

Wolf said, “I’ve always liked this course but never played well. It’s only halfway, so still a lot of golf to be played. I’m just trying to enjoy it out here. It’s helped that I played well at the start of the year, took some pressure off.”

Praising the course, she added, “The course suits my eye and it’s just fantastic when you walk around it, it’s beautiful. On this course, you don’t want to get ahead of yourself, so I’m going to take it one step at a time. Anything can happen if you just miss one shot, so there are still 36 holes to go.”

Wolf also contended that this course was as much a test of temperament as well as skill. “No, I actually think it takes a lot of skill too, because you have to hit it straight. Sometimes you have to be on the defensive side. It’s both.”

Wolf, who lists rock climbing as one of her passions, was unstoppable in the middle of the round from the fifth to the 13th holes, as she holed no less than seven birdies in the nine-hole stretch. That seemed to set her up for a brilliant day as she reached double figures under par at 10-under. But two bogeys, one a result of a missed up-and-down for par on 14th and a three-putt on 17th pulled her back to 4-under 68 for the second day running.

This season Wolf has not won but has been in good form with three Top-10s at Investec South African Women’s Open (6th), Jabra Ladies Open (7th) and Lacoste Ladies Open de France (7th). While still being an amateur during her stint at the University of Chattanooga in South Carolina, Wolf came through a 36-hole qualifier to make it the 2011 US Women’s Open at Jacksonville but missed the cut.

Tvesa Malik, who shot two-under par rounds of 71 each while winning the last WGAI event three weeks ago at this very course, outscored her experienced playing partners, Beth Allen, who won the Order of Merit in 2016, and Caroline Hedwall, the Women's Indian Open champion and Order of Merit winner in 2011. Hedwall is now T-27th and Allen is T-30th.

Tvesa said, “I'm disappointed with today, I feel I could have finished much better, I had a lot of good chances for birdies specially in the last 4-5 holes but I could not convert. My game has been good so hopefully tomorrow and day after will be better. I started really good with two birdies on the 10th and 11th, had another birdie on the 16th but after that I just missed a lot of birdies.”

Updated Date: Oct 19, 2018 20:51:01 IST