Date: February 02, 2007
Author: Luke Buttigieg

Karrie clear on top

By Luke Buttigieg Two-time champion Karrie Webb stands alone atop the MFS Women&aposs Australian Open leaderboard after 36 holes at Royal Sydney. Webb was out in the morning and carded a one-under 71 to move to six-under before heading to the practice range as her afternoon rivals found the going tougher, with the 2000 and 2002 Open winner to carry a one-stroke lead into the weekend. Outright second following a 71 of her own is Yun-Jye Wei of Chinese Taipei, while Webb&aposs compatriot Nikki Campbell followed her opening round 67 with a 73 to hold third on her own at minus four. Two strokes back in equal fourth place are Koreans Sun Ju Ahn (72) and Amy Yang (73), the latter who will defend her ANZ Ladies Masters title next week at Royal Pines, and only six other players are better than even-par. Dane Karen-Margrethe Juul shot the round of the day, a morning 67, to be alongside Spaniard Paula Marti (69) and Finn Minea Blomqvist (72), Australian Lindsey Wright (73), American Brittany Lincicome (73) and South African amateur Ashleigh Simon (74). All square with the card are Spaniard Marta Prieto (69), Frenchwoman Virginie Lagoutte-Clement (70), Swede Linda Wessberg (73), Korean Da-Ye Na (71), Ya-Ni Tseng (69) of Chinese Taipei and overnight leader Sarah Kemp (78), who had a horror back nine. Two strokes clear after eight holes at eight-under, thanks to three birdies and a bogey, Kemp added four bogeys in five holes before triple-bogeying the 16th and bogeying 18 as she dropped eight shots overall in 10 holes. With the skies clearing after light drizzling rain fell earlier in the morning, Webb went to the equal lead when she made an early birdie, only for back-to-back bogeys at 14 and 15 to slow her. But, even though she admitted after her round that she believes she was playing &aposugly&apos golf, Webb managed to pick up a couple of birdies on the front nine to climb back up the board ahead of an afternoon trip to the cricket. Wei held the solo lead herself on seven-under thanks to birdies at the 11th, 14th and third holes, before a couple of three-putt bogeys at the fourth and eighth holes checked her momentum. A day after shooting 67, Campbell got to six-under as well with two birdies and a bogey through eight holes but after dropping shots at the ninth and 11th holes she scrambled for the rest of the afternoon to stay in touch with Webb. After a promising start that left her five-under overall through 11 holes, Yang finished with three bogeys, while Australian amateur Bree Arthur squandered a brilliant three-birdie run in her first six holes with a pair of double bogeys and four bogeys as she finished on plus three with a 76. Juul&aposs round was the best of the day as she recovered from plus four overnight to minus one with six birdies and a lone bogey, four of the birdies coming on the front nine. American drawcard Natalie Gulbis had another disappointing day after opening with a 74, adding a three-over 75 that contained two birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey three at the 17th. Defending champion Laura Davies survived the cut, the Englishwoman backing up after a 73 on the first day with a 77 that contained two birdies and seven bogeys, including three in four holes at the end, to finish the day on plus six.