Hero Women’s Indian Open: Wolf jumps to a massive lead

Christine Wolf is on her fifth visit to India and, having never managed to finish in the top-10 here, appeared to be in a hurry to make up for lost time on Friday.

Christine Wolf made seven birdies in an inspired stretch over nine holes, from the fifth to the13th, setting herself up as a strong competitor for a maiden Ladies European Tour title after six years on the tour.   -  Twitter/@WomenIndianOpen

Christine Wolf is on her fifth visit to India and, having never managed to finish in the top-10 here, appeared to be in a hurry to make up for lost time on Friday. The Austrian carded a four-under 68 for the second consecutive day to take a massive four-shot lead over her rivals at the halfway stage of the 12th edition of the Hero Women’s Indian Open here.

Wolf, who had never shot a round in the 60s in her previous visits, made seven birdies in an inspired stretch over nine holes, from the fifth to the13th, setting herself up as a strong competitor for a maiden Ladies European Tour title after six years on the tour. Her best finish here has been a tied-11th two years back.

It wasn’t exactly an ideal start for the 29-year old, however. Teeing off from the par-four first hole in the morning, Wolf overshot but then steadied herself over the next few holes. Once the rhythm was back, she attacked the greens with success.

“I’m really pleased with the way I played yesterday and today. I hit a lot of greens and hit my iron shots close, so I gave myself a lot of chances and enjoyed it out there. I’ve always liked this course but never played well. But it’s only halfway, so there’s still a lot of golf to be played,” she said.

At one stage, Wolf was a massive 10-under but bogeys on the 14th and 17th brought her back to a two-day total of 8-under, giving her a four-shot lead over Thailand’s Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras (68-72). The Thai, looked like catching up with a 6-under score and two holes to go but made a triple bogey on the eighth.

Overnight leader Tonje Daffinrud of Norway had a disastrous round, shooting a three-over 75 to wipe off all her gains from day one and be placed at 3-under through 18 holes.

For the host, Tvesa Malik continued to lead the charge with a one-under 71 for the day to be placed tied seventh for a two-day total of 143. Tvesa, who turned pro last year, is also the current Order of Merit leader on the Indian circuit and was one of the eight Indians, including three amateurs, who made the cut on the day, that fell at seven-over.

Leading scores: 136 Christine Wolf (Aut, 68-68); 140 Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras (Tha, 68-72); 141 Tonje Daffinrud (Nor, 66-75); 142 Marianne Skarpnord (Nor, 68-74), Manon Molle (Fra, 72-70), Eleanor Givens (Eng, 71-71); 143 Tvesa Malik (Ind, 72-71), Nicole Broch Larsen (Den, 74-69), Kanphanitnan Muangkhumsakul (Tha, 72-71), Celine Boutier (Fra, 72-71); 144 Becky Morgan (Wal, 72-72), Agathe Sauzon (Fra, 73-71), Rosie Davies (Eng, 71-73), Felicity Johnson (Eng, 72-72), Noora Komulainen (Fin, 72-72).