Aditi Ashok produced a second round of 70 (-3) to hold a five-shot lead heading into the weekend at the Magical Kenya Ladies Open.
The Indian star followed up her first round of 67 (-6) with another consistent day at Vipingo Ridge to sit at the top of the leaderboard on nine-under-par after 36 holes at Vipingo Ridge.
Three-time LET winner Ashok only dropped one shot during the second day and rolled in four birdies on the Baobab Course.
“It was good I think for the most part I played pretty consistent today,” said Ashok. “There was just one dropped shot which was good.
“I feel I could have driven it a bit better and hit it closer than I did but overall, it was a good day. I don’t know why my driving was a little off. Maybe I didn’t warm up as well this morning or I guess when the wind picked up, I couldn’t find my rhythm.
“It’s easy on this course to hit 3-woods as well so that kind of helped me a bit, but the drives I couldn’t get good angles into some of the holes and some of the par-fives, I didn’t drive it long enough because I wasn’t driving it as good. It’s something to work on for the weekend.”
Thailand’s April Angurasaranee sits in second place on four-under-par after carding a second consecutive round of 71 (-2) in Kenya.
The 18-year-old, who earned Category 16 status at LET Q-School in December, made four birdies and two bogeys on day two at Vipingo Ridge and is aiming to finish in the top 10 this week.
“I would say my start has been very good,” said the rookie. “I want to finish in the top 10 this week, so that I get to play in Morocco next week. This is definitely on the right track.
“I have been looking at the leaderboard almost every hole and trying to catch up to the leader. I’m seeing the number but not focusing on it that much and trying to do what I do best and stay in my game and make birdies.
“Around here you have to manage your game plan very well because it can be very windy on some holes, the pin positions today are difficult. You have to be patient and try to hit the fairway and hit the green and get the opportunity to make birdie as much as you can.
“I have pizza every meal and ice cream every meal. It is working! I am going to keep to that routine this week.”
Last year’s runner-up Marta Sanz Barrio sits in third place on three-under-par after shooting a round of 72 (-1) on day two.
The Spaniard began her day with a bogey on the first but made a birdie on the second before another bogey on the fourth; however, three birdies and one bogey on the back nine put Sanz Barrio in a good position ahead of the weekend.
“The morning was very nice, it wasn’t even hot at all,” she said. “It was very nice until maybe the 13th hole or so when the wind picked up but it’s still a hard golf course. You have to fight your way out there and it’s always nice to beat the golf course here, so I’m happy.
“I’m striking the ball pretty well and what is saving me is I’m making up-and-down from a lot of places. I know this golf course and I think I’m playing the strategy right, so I hope to keep going.”
Three players sit in a share of fourth place with English duo Alice Hewson and Cara Gainer alongside Belgium’s Manon De Roey on two-under-par.
It was a bogey-free round of 69 (-4) for De Roey who rolled in birdies on holes two, six, 11 and 13 to move up the leaderboard.
“I actually have a whole new set of clubs this week,” said the Belgian. “I got them in the second week of January. I changed my driver from last year because I feel like it was more carry and it didn’t roll so much, so it’s working out now.
“I have a lot more roll and I realised that while I was playing the practice round. On this course it helps a lot, it’s also a lower ball flight which is good with the wind so I’m very happy with my new set.
“The first round there was definitely some rust there. The first round of the season is always tough, my back nine yesterday I fought back really hard and I know I can do that. Today my ball striking was a bit better than yesterday, and I created some chances for myself. That’s how I scored, and my tee shots were pretty accurate today as well.”
While it was a day of ups and downs for Gainer as she made seven birdies and four bogeys on her way to a round of three-under.
Gainer explained: “I have found the first two days pretty tricky, the conditions are tough here. It’s pretty windy, the course is firm and fast, and the greens are tricky with grain. It’s a tough first week back, but I’m happy to start the season like this and hopefully the next few days go well.
“It’s all about course management, luckily I have a caddie this week and we’re working together as a team. It’s about making the right, smart moves.”
Sweden’s Elin Arvidsson produced the round of the day with a 67 (-6) to have a total of one-under-par after 36 holes.
Arvidsson sits in a tie for seventh place alongside Denmark’s Amalie Leth-Nissen, Australia’s Gabriela Ruffels, Germany’s Esther Henseleit, Finland’s Sanna Nuutinen and Scotland’s Kylie Henry.
After the conclusion of the second round, the cut fell at +9 with 62 players making it through to the weekend including Kenyan amateur Naomi Wafula.
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