Revitalised Imrie still has Nocera in her sights
STILL searching for her first Ladies European Tour success 17 years after she made her debut, Kathryn Imrie kept in touch with leader Gwladys Nocera at the Aberdeen Asset Ladies Scottish Open yesterday thanks to a sparkling second-round of 69 which the Monifeith golfer felt was as well as she'd played in over a decade.
In bright and breezy conditions on Loch Lomond which helped to dry out the Carrick, Imrie's two-under-par effort for 142 after 36 holes, kept the Scot within three shots of the French frontrunner. Imrie, formerly Marshall, won on the LPGA Tour in America in 1995 but missed out in a play-off for a European title in Sweden a year later.
Understandably reluctant to get too far ahead of herself, Imrie knows she has another chance of success this afternoon. "Of course I would still love to do it," said the 40-year-old. "But the golfing gods are going to have to go with me. Gwladys is a world-class player. I don't really want to think about it too much. Still, I'm leaps and bounds ahead of where I was a year ago and am playing my best golf in a decade or so."
The California-based Scot who wants to become a TV commentator says this is "definitely maybe" her last season as a competitor. She'd love to go out on a high note and felt 69 was the worst score she could have posted. Imrie covered the back nine in 32 with her only bogey coming at the eighth after she took three putts from 25 feet.
Playing with Imrie, Dale Reid (76) carried her own bag and says she's competing for enjoyment as much as anything these days. One of Scotland's best women golfers, her approach shot to the first green from the left hand rough was a reminder of the Fifer's enduring expertise, even if she missed the downhill birdie putt.
The Ladybank golfer is 50 next spring and in time would like to try her luck on the senior tour in America. A winning Solheim Cup captain on Loch Lomond eight years ago, Reid, who won 1 million during an illustrious playing career which numbered 21 wins, now works as a care assistant at a nursing home in Fife. Even the best women golfers on this side of the Atlantic, it seems, can't rely on reputation to make ends meet.
At 5ft 5in and slightly built, Nocera is a long hitter who attributes her power to a personalised work-out regime with Olivier Rieg, the fitness coach at Biarritz rugby club. The Frenchwoman, who lives in Switzerland, goes for a 30- minute run anything from four to seven times a week. "I work out a lot," she said. "I don't know what it does for my golf but it makes me feel good in my head."
Although she dropped a couple of shots at the sixth and seventh, the Solheim Cup player was flawless on the back nine, which she covered in 34 for 70 and 139, three under par. A naturally aggressive golfer, the 32-year-old leads Korea's Amy Yang by a stroke.
Mhairi McKay, meanwhile, missed any number of putts during a second successive round of 74. On six over par, the Turnberry golfer is nine shots off the lead and unlikely to feature in today's chase for the first prize of 30,000 euros. "But I'd like to shoot in the 60s on Saturday," she confided. "That would send me back to America on Sunday feeling positive about my game. I feel as if I'm very close – but it's just not happening."
On the other hand, courtesy of an inspired 67 to match level par, Sophie Gustafson isn't out of the running yet to retain her title. She eagled the 11th thanks to a majestic 7-wood to 25 feet.
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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