Mollymook’s Kelsey Bennett has continued to shine bright in Abu Dhabi, carding one of the day’s best rounds, an impressive five-under 67, to vault into a share of second place at the halfway point of the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific Championship (WAAP).
Thailand’s Natthakritta Vongtaveelap still leads the way at ten under after posting a bogey-free four-under-par 68 to keep her two-shot lead; however Bennett, at eight-under, now has the Thai firmly in her sights.
Japan’s Mizuki Hashimoto of Japan added a second straight 68 to move to eight-under-par, and sits alongside Bennett in second place.
Queensland’s Cassie Porter is in a tie for 5th alongside the other golfers and just another two shots back.
Bennett, however, was the Aussie’s shining light on day two, making a brace of birdies on the homeward nine to vault up the leaderboard. She admitted though her opening nine was a bit of a battle, and her putter didn’t feel quite right. However, it all clicked when she made the turn for home.
“I was struggling on the front nine. My putting just didn’t feel quite right but I got the hang of it on the back nine. “
And get the hang of it she did. Birdies on the 10th, then another from off the green on the par-three 12th saw her get to six under and onto the first page of the leaderboard.
Bennett binned another birdie on the 16th after hitting her approach to about 3 1/2 metres. But she saved her best for last, binning a nine-metre uphill birdie putt on the 471-metre par-five last to get to eight under.
Bennett said a quick chat with her coach, John Serhan after her opening round 69 was the catalyst for today’s effort.
“I spoke to Johnny and talked about improving my wedges, so I hit a few in practice yesterday afternoon, and it came good.
“It was just getting a bit more feel more than anything,” she added.
With a spot in the final group for today’s third round locked away, Bennett said she wouldn’t be changing the game plan, which has served her well thus far. Nor is she putting much thought into the spoils which await the winner on Saturday afternoon.
“Keep it the same as what I have been doing; I’m not going to overthink it.
“This is my first major amateur event, so I haven’t really thought about it (winning) too much, which is obviously a good thing. So I’ll keep it that way.”
The halfway cut fell at two-over-par 146, with 51 players from 12 countries making it through to the final two rounds of the championship.
June Song, the other New South Wales player in the six-person Aussie Squad, finished on +11.