Date: December 13, 2008

Garrett one off the pace

Australia&aposs Nikki Garrett fired a six-under-par 66 to pull to within one shot of the leader and has outright second position at seven-under at the halfway mark of the Dubai Ladies Masters. Annika Sorenstam set herself up for a possible fairytale ending in her final event as she shot also shot a 66 to move into the lead An eagle at the third and four birdies gave the defending champion from Sweden a one-stroke lead at eight-under 136 in her final competitive event. In May, Sorenstam announced she was retiring from the sport at the end of the year to start a family and devote more time to business pursuits. Trailing England&aposs Johanna Head by four strokes after a 70 in the first round, Sorenstam picked up the pace with a flawless display on the Majlis Golf Course at Emirates Golf Club. Playing in the afternoon heat, Sorenstam kick-started the day by hitting her 5-iron approach shot to 10 feet at the par-5 third hole and rolling in the eagle putt. Further birdies on the sixth, seventh and ninth holes gave her an outward total of 5-under 30 to pull even with Head. Sorenstam birdied the 13th, which at 540 yards is the longest hole on the course, to move to 8-under and a step closer to a fairytale finish at her farewell tournament. “My goal was to clean up the round that I had yesterday with no bogeys and I was able to do that so I&aposm very, very happy,” Sorenstam said: “I wish I could have done a little better. I know I had a lot of chances and edges really. I hit the pin on the 11th hole, but I hit some good shots and I hit some good putts that just didn&apost go in.” Maria Verchenova&aposs 66 was her best score in two years on the Ladies European Tour and she shared third place on 6-under with Veronica Zorzi (69 and Head (72). “My iron game was really good, and I hit a lot of greens and I&aposm happy with my game,” said Verchenova, who is the only Russian player on tour. “It&aposs quite tough. You definitely have to have a good short game, it&aposs a good golf course and it suits my game. It&aposs like before the week started, I feel like I was going to do well here.” Germany&aposs Anja Monke, Denmark&aposs Iben Tinning and England&aposs Laura Davies shared sixth place at 5-under 139.