CAPE TOWN – Karolin Lampert produced a brilliant front nine to surge into a one-shot lead on Friday at Westlake Golf Club, but Ashleigh Buhai is in close pursuit heading into the final round of the South African Women’s Open.
The German had started the second round in a tie for second on two-under and a shot behind two-time champion Buhai.
On a magnificent morning tailor-made for low scoring, Lampert got off to a bogey start, but rallied with three birdies on the bounce from 13 to turn four-under.
Buhai, playing behind the German, stretched her lead to five-under with birdies at 13 and 17.
Lampert bogeyed the first, but birdied the par-five fourth and the 23-year-old set the clubhouse target at five-under with a birdie at the par-four eighth.
She was still perched at the top of the leaderboard as action wrapped up on Friday.
“I took advantage of the good scoring conditions, because there wasn’t really any wind to speak of,” said the Golf Club St Leon Rot golfer.
“The greens were rolling really nicely, so it was the perfect conditions to post a low round.
“I three-putted 10 and I wanted to get some shots back as quickly as possible. I had an opportunity at 12, but I missed the birdie putt from about eight feet.
“I stayed patient and hit some good shots into 13, 14 and 15 and the putts finally started rolling in.
“This is my first start of the season, so I couldn’t be happier. I’m still hunting a maiden win, and I’ve given myself a chance.”
Buhai birdied four to go six-under, but hit a major wobble when she dropped three shots in succession from the sixth.
“I played really steady on the front nine and hit some really good shots, but I got myself into a bit of a downward spiral on my back nine with three soft drops,” said the 28-year-old.
“I saw the lead was five-under coming up the eighth and I really wanted to make that last birdie.”
Former Sanlam SA Amateur champion Bonita Bredenhann also got it to five-under with three birdies in the first four holes, but she turned level par after a trio of bogeys.
The big-hitting Namibian erased a fourth bogey at 10 with a birdie at 13, and holed a 25-footer at 18 for birdie. A round of 71 earned her sole third place on three-under.
Defending champion Lee-Anne Pace opened with a 76, but trended towards the leaders with birdies at four, seven, 13 and 17. Her par-putt at 18 just shaved the hole and a 69 puts her at three-over.
African News Agency (ANA)