Date: February 27, 2010
Author:

ALPG/LET – KEMP LEADS INTO FINAL ROUND

(27 February 2010 – Pegasus, North Canterbury, New Zealand)

rnSarah Kemp has never led into the final round of a professional  golf tournament before, but the 24-year-old Australian is keenly looking forward to the challenge in the final round of the Pegasus New Zealand Open tomorrow, even if she is being stalked by one of the legends of the game in Laura Davies of England.

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After a day where the field was almost brought to its knees by a strong blustery nor-east wind, Kemp is 6-under par on 210, after a 74, one clear of Davies (71)  with a further shot to Wales’ Becky Brewerton.Considering that American Diana D’Alessio led the field after two rounds at 9-under par, the strength of the wind, which grew as the day progressed,  turned a pleasant morning stroll into a battle for survival. Only 16 players bettered par, almost all with early morning starts.

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Kemp is better equipped than most to handle coastal windy conditions having learned her golf at the New South Wales Golf Club, but even she struggled in today’s buffeting conditions. “I didn’t think I kept my focus at all well and didn’t feel if I played well, but I hung in there for my two over.”

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Kemp found the wind affected her putting most. “I would stand over the ball and it would start to shake. It was causing me to change my routine and I shouldn’t have done that. I just have to stand over the ball and be confident.” Kemp had to be mentally strong to keep from being affected by the woes of her playing companions. Overnight leader D’Alessio dropped seven shots in six holes between the 12th and 17th in her round of 79 while South African Ashleigh Simon dropped eight shots between the 11th and 16th in her 78.

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I’m heading to the putting green for 20 minutes just to hear the ball dropping into the cup. It will be easy to wipe out today and concentrate on tomorrow,” she said.

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Whereas tomorrow is new ground for Kemp, not so for Davies, who looks in good touch after three weeks in Australia and one in Thailand as preparation for this tournament.

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I started off well with four birdies and two three-putt bogeys, which was disappointing, and was cruising, but we turned into the wind on the eighth and it was a different ball game. I was swinging pretty well to be honest, but just had to concentrate on making pars, but even that was difficult,” she said.

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To show the magnitude of the wind, Davies hit an eight iron 211 metres through the green on the 18th, while on the 475 m par 5 16th she hit driver, three iron, three iron compared with driver, four iron, sand iron the day before.

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Hopefully it will be a fine day tomorrow and the good crowds will be able to see players shooting birdies, not just surviving,” she said.

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Heading the New Zealand charge is Wellington’s Sarah Nicholson and 12-year-old amateur Lydia Ko on one under 215 and in a tie for 11th after rounds of 74 and 71 respectively. Cecilia Cho shot a 76 and is tied for 44th.
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Photos by Paul Melville – ALPG.

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