Carly Booth and Michele Thomson are both in the hunt for Scottish golf’s latest success on South African soil, but face a formidable task in trying to catch Lee-Anne Pace.
Heading into the final round of the Investec South African Women’s Open, Booth and Thomson are sitting joint-seventh after some good work so far at Westlake Golf Club in Capetown.
Maintaining her recent good form, Booth carded a 71 in the second round while Thomson signed for a 72, leaving the Scottish pair on one-over-par.
They’re in a position to try and make their presence felt in the closing circuit, though Pace could be hard to catch after the home player opened up a two-shot lead by moving to four-under on the back of a 68.
“My one-under should have been about four or five,” said Booth, who finished fourth in the Canberra Classic a fortnight ago and was then joint-12th last weekend in the New South Wales Open. “Hopefully the putts that didn’t drop today will drop tomorrow.”
Starting at the tenth, the two-time LET winner birdied 12th and 13th as she went out in one-under, moved to two-under for the day with a birdie at second before dropping a shot at last.
“It was definitely playing a lot easier today,” she added. “That wind yesterday afternoon made it very tough to judge shots. I felt the scoring would be a lot better today, but choice of clubs was different off tees, so that required a bit of course management.
“It is important to hit the fairways on this course. That’s the key as the fairways are quite narrow and also lined by trees.”
Pace, a nine-time LET winner, will start the final round in familiar territory, having previously lifted the this title in 2014, 2015 and 2017.
Bidding for her maiden LET win in an event that is co-sanctioned with the Sunshine Ladies Tour, Thomson had a mixed day as she made six birdies but also six bogeys.
Kelsey Macdonald, six-over, and Kylie Henry, nine-over, were the only other Scots to make it through to the final round, with rookie Gabrielle Macdonald agonisingly missing out by a shot as she bounced back from her opening 82 with a 73.
Liam Johnston had his chipping to thank as the Scot cemented his place in the top 10 at the halfway stage in the Magical Kenya Open in Nairobi.
A second-round 69 at Karen Golf Club gave the 26-year-old from Dumfries a six-under-par total in the new European Tour event.
He’s sitting joint-seventh, six shots behind Louis De Jager after the South African stormed four clear of the chasing pack after backing up his opening 64 with a 66.
“I’m happy with my today round,” said Johnston, one of the four Scottish newcomers on the circuit this season after graduating from the Challenge Tour.
“I didn’t strike it as well as yesterday, but my chipping helped me massively to get it round in a couple under.”
Starting at the tenth, he bogeyed the 13th before bagging birdies at the 14th and 18th. He then dropped a shot at third, but made back-to-back birdies at the sixth and seventh, chipping in at the latter.
“I’m just going to stick to my gameplan and see how the next two days unfold,” added Johnston, who has left his driver out of the bag this week - the first time in a tournament.
Connor Syme is next best among the Scots, sitting joint-33rd on one-under, while Ewen Ferguson (69) and Calum Hill (71) both progressed on level-par.
After 73 that included five bogeys in a row on his front nine, Bob MacIntyre looked to be heading for an early exit.
But, in the end, the cut fell at two-over, meaning the 22-year-old rookie made it to the weekend for the ninth event in a row and tenth time in 11 starts this season.
De Jager, who came through the Qualifying School at the sixth attempt last season, carded seven birdies and two bogeys.
“I had to find my feet a bit at the start of the season but I’m feeling comfortable out here, this is where I belong,” said the leader.
It was a Swede success for Linn Grant and Maja Stark in the Sunningdale Foursomes as the all-female pairing claimed the coveted title at the Surrey venue,
They beat Joe Sullivan and Louis Hirst by two holes in the final after squeezing home at the 20th against PGA pros Cameron Clark and David Higgins earlier in the day.
Jordan Sundborg and Penelope Brown recorded a double success for Stirling University in the BUCS (British Universities and College Sport) West of Scotland Trophy at Western Gailes.
In testing conditions on the Ayrshire coast, Sundborg closed with an 81 for an 18-over-par 231 total but still won the men’s event by two shots from team-mate Matthew Bell.
Brown also found it tough going in the final circuit, signing off with an 80, but she finished 12 shots clear of the field on 22-over.