Catriona Matthew, the 2019 Solheim Cup captain, is chasing her first victory in more than five years after turning back the clock in the opening two rounds of the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España Femenino.
Having to play 28 holes in one day after rain forced play to be suspended on Thursday at La Quinta, the 49-year-old carded scores of 70 and 67 for a five-under total – one behind the clubhouse leader, home hope Azahara Munoz (68-68).
“This morning it was really wet,” said Matthew, who last tasted victory in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open at Archerfield Links in 2013. “A few of the fairways were very muddy. It did dry out a little bit this afternoon, but was still pretty soggy.
“I hit the ball really well this afternoon and gave myself a lot of chances. You always come off feeling that you could have holed a few more, but I’m happy with four-under this afternoon.”
Matthew was bogey-free in her second circuit, which produced birdies at the first, fifth, 17th and 18th. “The greens are tricky and you can, even with all the rain, get some fast ones down the hill,” she added.
Georgia Hall, the Women’s British Open champion, sits alongside Matthew after rounds of 67 and 70 while Gemma Dryburgh, who recently secured a card in the recent LPGA Q-Series, posted scores of 69 and 71 to lie joint sixth on two under.
Michele Thomson, who started the day in a share of the lead after an opening 68, had slipped back to level par following seven holes in her second round.
Elsewhere, Russell Knox and Martin Laird jumped into the top ten after the Scottish pair coped well in brutal conditions on the second day of the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf in Melbourne.
As Belgium and Korea reached the halfway stage in a share of the lead, the tartan twosome moved into joint-eighth in the 28-team event after leaping 12 spots.
On a day when torrential rain and gusting winds swept across the Metropolitan Club, Knox and Laird carded a one-under-par 71 as the event switched to foursomes for the second circuit.
Only Mexican pair Abraham Ancer and Roberto Diaz, with a 70, scored better and the Scots were among just four teams who managed to break par. The effort left the Scots on six-under, four shots off the pace heading into the second fourball round before the event concludes with another round of foursomes.
Meanwhile, Paul O’Hara secured a place in next year’s BMW PGA Championship after finishing fourth behind Englishman David Dixon in the PGA Play-Offs in Turkey, while a Tartan Tour trio comprising of Chris Currie, Ian Graham and Gareth Wright ended up joint-sixth in the PGAs of European Team Championship, won by Germany in Greece.