Golf, eh? It drives you round the bend. Just ask Laura Davies. One week, in perfect scoring conditions, she has the “worst” round of her career. The next, in ugly weather, she goes out and has the “second-best round I’ve probably ever shot”.
The 55-year-old English player was referring to her three-under-par 68 in the second round of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open, a remarkable effort at The Renaissance Club on the East Lothian coast in Armageddon-type conditions which prevented the full field from completing their round yesterday. Well over a score of players will go out again this morning to play their final few holes.
In strong wind and heavy rain, Davies’ round really was a thing of beauty, the tone being set with a “perfectly-struck” 4-iron from 155 yards into a “howling wind” to a foot at her opening hole – the tenth. In a career first, she also hit two 1-irons at one hole, produced around a dozen “little knock-down shots” and, to cap it all, recorded a 12th hole-in-one in her career with a wedge at the 152-yard fifth.
“People say, ‘oh, should you give up and commentate, you’re a rubbish golfer now’, but I still know I can hit shots and play like that,” said Davies, smiling, after signing for an effort that left her on two-under for the tournament after opening with a 72. “I’ve just got to do it and prove it and today I hit a lot of greens.”
That certainly wasn’t the case as she opened with an 80 in last week’s Women’s British Open at Woburn on her way to being last on 13-over-par after two rounds in the season’s final major. This was more like her and she didn’t mind in the slightest being absolutely drookit at the end of it.
“It’s probably the second-best round I’ve ever shot because I obviously needed to have a good round to make the cut. I had a six-under 66 in Canada years ago – the du Maurier in 1996 when it wasn’t raining so much but it was blowing a gale on a tree-lined course – but that’s as close as I can get to it,” she added. “It was horrific out there and getting quite ugly. You just have to batten down the hatches and hope your caddie keeps the clubs dry. Between us, we got it right.”
It’s been a “horrible” season for Davies on the LPGA.“This is my 11th event and I missed the first ten cuts,” she reported. “So to make the cut, I know it sounds pathetic at this stage of my career, but I’m really pleased.
“I’m here because I still think I’m decent and I think today proves I can play. Last week, finishing stone last in a field of 144, that’s the first time that’s ever happened. So you doubt yourself a bit, but I know the good shots are there.”
Equally impressive in the worst of the weather was a bogey-free 68 from Swede Linda Wessberg while Gemma Dryburgh was also pleased to break par with her 70, which included five birdies. “It was brutal,” said the Aberdonian, who is just outside the projected cut. “It’s funny as my caddie asked me yesterday what was the worst weather that I’d ever played in as a professional and I wasn’t really sure. But I think today might be it. It wasn’t actually as bad as we thought it might be as we had a few holes with only wind and no rain.”
Later, following a suspension as parts of the course became flooded, Korea’s Mi Jung Hur took full advantage of the conditions improving dramatically to move to the top of the leaderboard as she carded a blistering nine-under-par 62. After starting at the tenth, the 29-year-old had already made two birdies before chipping in for an eagle at the 12th and went on to sign for eight birdies in moving to 14 under, two ahead of Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn (66) and four in front of third-placed Anne van Dam (69) from the Netherlands and Korea’s Jeongeun Lee (65).
Hur’s round was witnessed by 2012 winner Carly Booth, who was in the same group. “She killed it,” said the Scot. “She did not waste a single shot or putt today.” Booth was pleased with her own 67 to sit just outside the top ten on five under. “I see what the best are doing this week, so I’ve just got to keep focused, keep playing my game and you never know,” she added.