Ladies Scottish Open: Danes stay in touch but Stacey Lewis is star of day 2

American is joint leader with Spain’s Azahara Munoz at The Renaissance Club
Stacey Lewis impressed on day 2 of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty ImagesStacey Lewis impressed on day 2 of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
Stacey Lewis impressed on day 2 of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

As golf’s “Great Dane” Thomas Bjorn takes a week off from competing to do a charity walk from Wentworth to Wales, some of his compatriots are flying the flag in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open.

At the end of the fog-delayed first round at The Renaissance Club in East Lothian, Nicole Larsen led the way in the $1.5 million event with Emily Pedersen and Nanna Madsen also in the top ten. The trio are still handily-placed at the halfway stage with Larsen and Madsen in a tie for sixth place after rounds of 73 and 71 respectively left them three shots off the lead shared by America’s Stacey Lewis, who impressed with a 66 yesterday, and Spain’s Azahara Munoz, who shot 69.

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The pair are on five under par with American Jennifer Song a shot behind in third place.

Pedersen slipped back a little, with her second-round 74 causing her to drop into joint 13th place.

While some players may still be trying to shake off some rust following the restart, others have been able to hit the ground running. During golf’s Covid-19 lockdown, the leading Danish women professionals were invited to take on some of their male counterparts in an ECCO Tour event, which Pedersen, a 23-year-old from Copenhagen, won.

“The ECCO Tour is part of the Nordic League, which is a Scandinavian tour,” she said. “It’s Denmark, Sweden and they play a little in Finland. The organiser is Danish and, as we didn’t have anything to play in, he asked us if we were interested in playing with the men and we were. It kind of went well.

“I’m not sure what the secret is,” said Pederson of Danish golf boasting a talented crop of players in both the men’s and women’s golf at the present time. “But I know the Federation has a really good set-up and they support us a lot. Our coach, David Dickmeis, is doing a fantastic job. He’s a great coach. He does a lot for us and I really think he’s very good.

“I think that’s kind of what’s been helping. It’s been helping me. We have a good practice environment. We go on camps with the guys in the beginning of the year and during the season, but not this year. I think we are good at pushing each other and working together like with the men and the boys, the girls, the ladies. Everyone is kind of good at working together.”

Bjorn, who certainly did his bit to inspire a new generation of Danish golfers during a career that spawned 21 wins worldwide and three Ryder Cup appearances before a winning a captaincy in 2018, is walking 130 miles from the European Tour headquarters at Wentworth to Celtic Manor in Wales this week.

He is undertaking the four-day trek to raise funds for Unicef UK’s Save Generation Covid appeal and the Golf Foundation as part of the European Tour’s #GolfforGood initiative.

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Back at East Lothian, the Scottish challenge fizzled out a little yesterday. Gemma Dryburgh’s second-round 75 dropped her seven shots off the pace on two over par after a bright 69 on day one. Compatriots Kylie Henry (75) and Michele Thomson (an impressive 69 after an opening 78) both made the cut on four over and five over respectively.

Faring less well were Catriona Matthew (74), Carly Booth (72) and Alison Muirhead (73) who all fell below the projected cut mark.

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