Coffey thrives on home territory

 

Irish matchplay champion Alison Coffey made full use of local knowledge at Royal Co Down yesterday to prove she is a major player in the hunt for the British Women's Amateur Strokeplay Championship title.

Coffey opened her challenge with a oneunder-par 73 to be just one stroke behind surprise overnight leader Chloe Court from Sussex. Sharing second spot with Coffey are Karen Juul from Denmark and Marcella Neggers from the Netherlands.

Coffey had a rather mixed outward run of three birdies, three pars and three bogeys but then returned in a steady one-under-36, having pencilled in birdie threes at the 11th and 16th holes and making bogey five at the 17th.

Court is aiming for a place in the Curtis Cup next time and yesterday played solidly. She turned in level par after a bad drive cost her a stroke at the first hole and an eightfoot putt got it back again at the fifth. She was on the green in two blows at both the 12th and 13th for a birdie four each time and then she achieved an eagle two when she drove to 15 feet and rolled home the putt at the 16th.

"Unfortunately, I gave those two shots back again at the next hole after driving into a bunker. I then was in the wrong position off the green and had to play over a bunker so I ran up a six," she explained.

The 24-year-old Juul highlighted her card with an eagle three at the fourth hole where she hit the green with a drive and five-wood just six feet from the flag. She turned one-over-par and from the 10th the former winner, who plays off scratch, turned on the style. She birdied the short 10th, the long 12th and the 13th but bunker trouble cost her a stroke at the 17th.

Neggers got off to a blazing start with a hat-trick of birdies and, after sustaining bogeys at the sixth and eighth holes, pencilled in an eagle at the long ninth to turn threeunder-par. Her only birdie on the homeward run was at the long 13th as she took 39 shots (two over) to get home.

English champion Rebecca Hudson, who posted a 74, was far from happy with her short game while Becky Brewerton has some work to do to hold on to the title as she opened with a 79.

After today's second round, the top 40 players and ties will qualify for the final 36 holes tomorrow.