● Irish player reaches six under par to lead after 36 holes in York
● Finland’s Kerttu Hiltunen and Switzerland’s Elena Moosmann closest challengers
● New event for Under 16 girls staged at one of finest inland courses in UK
Ireland’s Beth Coulter maintained her overnight lead at the Girls Under 16 Open Championship, as a host of players gathered behind her on the international leaderboard.
The recently-turned 14-year-old closed with a two-putt birdie for another under par round, a one-under 73, to reach a six-under-par total at Fulford Golf Club in York.
Boasting a formidable long game, the Kirkistown Castle player continues to hold a two-stroke advantage going into the final 18 holes on Sunday at the inaugural event.
But with players from Finland, Switzerland, Scotland, Italy, Sweden and Wales all well placed, the battle for the trophy could go down to the wire.
Eagles land on day two
“Hopefully I can go low tomorrow and bring it home,” said Coulter, after a dry, calm day in the north-east. “It would be massive to win this. It’s a fantastic event, the competition has been great and the facilities are top notch.”
In a truly topsy-turvy round, Coulter produced two eagles at the fourth and 11th, three birdies and six dropped shots. “It wasn’t as good as yesterday with some silly mistakes,” added Coulter, a reserve for Great Britain and Ireland at last year’s Junior Vagliano Trophy. “But the two eagles and the birdie on 18 before lunch made up for it.”
While her playing partners, the Welsh duo Ffion Tynan and Carys Worby fell off the pace at the top, Finland’s Kerrtu Hiltunen and the lowest handicapper in the field, Elena Moosmann from Switzerland, surged into contention with rounds of 70 and 69 respectively.
‘I think I can win’
Hiltunen sits on four under par, a stroke ahead of Moosmann, with Scotland’s Hannah Darling a shot further back on two under.
Moosmann also made an eagle at the 11th and has found the form that helped her reach the semi-finals of the Girls British Open Amateur at Enville last year.
“I had a few poor holes but I’m pleased to be high on the leaderboard,” said the +3.5 handicapper. “On Friday, I thought about my swing too much, but today I went out to have fun and relax. I think I can win if I play well. I like this tournament and I’m really enjoying the course.”
Darling, another to register an eagle, this time at the fourth, added, “I stuck to my game plan and if I had a bad shot I recovered from it well. I’m not thinking about winning. If I play my best tomorrow afternoon, I’ll be happy whatever the outcome.”
Young bee impresses
A trio of players are on one under par, Wales’ Tynan, the Italian Charlotte Cattaneo and Sweden’s Minonna Falkman Lehes.
Perhaps the round of the day belonged to Buckinghamshire 10-year-old Rosie Bee Kim – the youngest member in the 90-player field– after she came home in 33 for a one-under 73 to sit just outside the top 20.
Second round scores from Girls Under 16 Open Championship HERE