Published: Saturday December 7, 2013 MYT 4:41:00 PM
Updated: Saturday December 7, 2013 MYT 4:49:10 PM

Lewis leads by two in Dubai

World No. 3 Stacy Lewis of the US. — AFP

World No. 3 Stacy Lewis of the US. — AFP

DUBAI: Stacy Lewis did not have the best of days on the golf course Friday, but still managed to double her lead to two shots on the top of the 500,000 euros Dubai Ladies Masters leaderboard.

After a glorious 65 in Thursday’s second round of the season-ending championship of the Ladies European Tour, the American world No. 3 could only manage a two-under 70 on Friday, but a measured birdie on the par-five closing hole of the Majlis course helped her lead by two shots over fellow LPGA Tour player Pornanong Phatlum of Thailand.

Phatlum shot a three-under 69, which included a couple of birdie putts from outside 25 feet, to finish at nine-under 207.

Spain’s Carlota Ciganda, winner of the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit last year, made two bogeys on her back nine to finish with a 73, which tied her for the third place at six-under par 210 alongside Italy’s Diane Luna (69) and Scotland’s Vikki Laing (69).

Defending champion Feng Shanshan of China moved into the top-10 with a one-under 71 round, but her title defence was surely over as she fell nine shots behind the leader at two-under 214.

In the race for the Rookie of the Year honours, 17-year-old Charley Hull shot a one-over 73 to enjoy a two-shot advantage over compatriot Holly Clyburn (70), who improved to tied 21st place at 217.

Lewis, the highest ranked player in the tournament, said: “It was one of those rounds that could have gone either way. But I am glad in the end it took me in the right direction.

“I did not hit the ball as well as yesterday (Thursday). I hit 16 greens in regulation, but did not hit it close enough. Most of them were around 20 feet and I did not make those putts. That really was the main difference.
Phatlum, winner of the Ladies Indian Open twice and champion once on the LPGA Tour, said she did not want to think of any result right now.

“I enjoyed the round today. Played it shot-by-shot and scored a 69. Tomorrow, I am excited to play with Lewis, who is the world No. 3 and playing great golf.
“But I am only going to say that I will try my best and not put too much pressure on myself,” said the young Thai, who has now improved to No. 47 in the world.

There was a hole-in-one in the tournament, and South African Connie Chen walked away with a shining new Mercedes E400 Convertible after holing out her six-iron tee shot on the 160-yard par-three 15th hole. — AFP

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