Pride of place in the 36-hole stroke-play qualifying at the Ayrshire venue went to Iceland’s Ragnhildur Kristinsdóttir as she carded a second-round seven-under-par 66 to progress as the top seed.
Kristinsdóttir, who holds the best stroke average in Eastern Kentucky University history, carded eight birdies and a solitary bogey to post a six-under-par 140 total, finishing two shots ahead of both Darling and England’s Amy Taylor.
Darling, who had led by three shots after her first-day 68, opened with a birdie for the second round running and also matched her eagle-3 at the 11th from her first circuit.
However, the 17-year-old Broomieknowe player was two-over for the day before picking up a late birdie as she had to settle for a 74.
“Today wasn’t as good as yesterday, but I am proud of how I came back,” said Darling, who faces compatriot Luisa Gibson, who also passed the qualifying test in last week’s Scottish Championship at Gullane, in the opening round on Wednesday morning.
“I was leading and sometimes that can get in your head and it’s easy to push it a bit. But I stayed patient and said to myself if I could be one-under for the last four I would be fine and I was, so that is good.
“Now I need to just play each match as it comes, just play the course and not get too far ahead of myself. I am playing good, so who knows what this week can bring.”
West Kilbride’s Louise Duncan, the leading qualifier in East Lothian last week, progressed comfortably again as she finished seventh on level par, having shot rounds of 74-72.
Fresh from her title triumph at Gullane, Goadby was next best among the Caledonia contingent, finishing birdie-birdie for a 72 and a four-over total, one better than both Lorna McClymont and Hazel MacGarvie.
Carmen Griffiths, Shannon McWilliam, Rachel Foster, Jennifer Rankine, Jasmine Mackintosh, Grace Crawford, Clara Young and Megan Ashley are the other Scots still standing.