Ashley and Natasha still in the running to qualify for Majors

PETALING JAYA: National women golfers Ashley Lau and Natasha Andrea Oon have kept alive their hopes of playing in the women’s British Open and Evian Championship.

Ashley carded a second consecutive three-under 69 to move within four shots of the lead at the halfway stage of the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific (WAAP) Championship in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

Only the winner of this meet gets to earn the right to play in the two Majors next year.

Ashley is the leading Malaysian contender on six-under 138, one ahead of Natasha who signed for a 70.

Ashley was delighted to stay in the hunt after leaving it late to strike her three birdies of the day.

“It was a slow start for me. I parred my first 11 holes. I drained a 25-footer on the 12th, and that got me going for the rest of the day,” said Ashley.

“I told myself just don’t expect anything.

“My goal coming into today was really to not try and force anything.

“I’ve achieved my goal because I played a patient game,” said Ashley who is hoping to win so that she will earn the invitation to play for the two Majors.

Audrey Tan, who started the day tying for fifth with Ashley and Natasha, slumped 39 spots to joint 44th and survived the cut by a whisker after a disastrous 77.

All in all, it was still a pleasant day for the Malaysian camp as Liyana Durisic and Winnie Ng also made the cut.

Liyana carded an improved 71 to be tied for 32nd on an even par 144 while Winnie was joint 37th on 145.

Foong Zi Yu, however, failed to progress after another dismal round of 78. She ended the day in 66th placing among 78 players.

Overnight leader Natthakritta Vongtaveelap preserved her two-shot advantage by adding a 68 to her opening 66 to head into the penultimate round on 10-under.

Mizuki Hashimoto of Japan retained her second position following a successive 68 and was joined by Australian Kelsey Bennett, who impressed with a 67. Leading second round scores

134: Natthakritta Vongtaveelap (Tha) 66-68;

136: Mizuki Hashimoto (Jpn) 68-68, Kelsey Bennett (Aus) 69-67;

137: Anika Varma (Ind) 69-68;

138: Lee Jeong-hyun (Kor) 70-68, Cassie Porter (Aus) 69-69, Hwang You-min (Kor) 69-69, Ashley Lau (Mas) 69-69;

139: Chan Ya-chun (Tpe) 71-68, Natasha Andrea Oon (Mas) 69-70, Kim Min-sun (Kor) 72-67, Kan Bunnabodee (Tha) 75-64, Hsu Huai-chien (Tpe) 72-67.

Selected Malaysians: 144: Liyana Durisic 73-71; 145: Winnie Ng 72-73; 146: Audrey Tan 69-77.

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