Date: September 09, 2012
Author: Australian Ladies Professional Golf

Whitaker Stays In Contention

(9 September 2012 – Austria)

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Australian Alison Whitaker posted a four-under-par 68 to stay in contention at the UNIQA Ladies Open presented by Raiffeisen being played at Golfclub Fohrenwaldh in Wiener Neustadt in Austria.

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The 26-year-old will be chasing the defending champion, Swede Caroline Hedwall, who is on course to retain her Austrian title after firing a second round of six-under-par 66 to sit atop of the leaderboard at 11-under-par.Playing in her first tournament for two months, the 23-year-old Swede leads Whitaker by two shots heading into the final round.

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Hedwall won four tournaments on the Ladies European Tour in 2011 before being named rookie and player of the year but has been out with a hip injury for the last eight weeks. Her short game practice was paying off at Golfclub Fohrenwaldh .

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She reeled off six birdies on a second day of beautiful weather in Lower Austria and said: “I’m playing very solidly. I shot better than yesterday and yesterday was good so I’m very happy. I’ve been working hard and I’m having a lot of fun.”

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She played relatively conservatively during her second round, with her mother Yvonne pulling her trolley.

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I haven’t actually gone for the greens today. I’m hitting my wedges so well I’m just looking to hit the fairways, get a good approach shot and I gave myself a lot of birdie opportunities today and made a lot of putts so I’m very happy. I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing. If I can shoot five or six under tomorrow it will be hard to beat,” she said.

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Whitaker managed to stay in touch with the Solheim Cup player with rounds of 67 and 68 and will be trying to improve on her season-best tie for 11th in Holland as she contends for the first time in an event on the LET.

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The 26-year-old Melbournian, ranked 87th on the order of merit, said: “It’s good to see some balls go in the hole and see some hard work pay off. It’s been a bit of a grind this season so it’s good to get a little momentum going.

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Yesterday I had a good ball striking day and today was a bit scrappier but I just really committed to being comfortable off the tee. If I wasn’t feeling driver then I just committed to three-wood and made some smart decisions out there so I think as long as I can keep committing to my shots then hopefully tomorrow will be a good day.”

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England’s Melissa Reid had a tidy 67 to share third with Thailand’s Nontaya Srisawang (68) on six under par. England’s Laura Davies, a three-time winner of this event shot 69 to finish in a group of six players at five under, along with Swedes Linda Wessberg (69) and Mikaela Parmlid (71), South African Stacy Lee Bregman (70) and the French pair of Joanna Klatten (68) and Anne-Lise Caudal (70).

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Unfortunately Rebecca Artis and Stacey Keating fell back down the leaderboard during round two.  Artis posted a 73 to fall back in a tie for 22nd position, while Keating is a shot further back after a 75 to share 30th position.  Frances Bondad (73) was the only other Australian to make the cut, she made it on the cut number of even-par and is tied 40th.

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Unfortunately Stephanie Na (+2), Nikki Garrett (+3) and Rachel Bailey (+12) will not be playing Sunday.

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