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Australian Nikki Garrett made a final-hole birdie to retain her overnight lead in the second round of the Tenerife Open de EspaÃ±a Femenino at Golf Las AmÃ©ricas. After a career low 64 on Thursday, the 28-year-old from New South Wales started the day with a three stroke advantage at eight under par and carded a second-round 73 in hot and breezy conditions to end seven under taking a one stroke lead into the weekend.
Garrett started with a double bogey on the par-four third hole after hitting her tee shot into the water but scrambled with three birdies against two further bogeys.
She birdied the fourth but dropped a shot at the sixth. She then birdied the seventh but bogeyed the eighth for an outward total of two over par before regaining her outright lead with a birdie on the par-five 18th hole.
"It was probably 100 per cent different to yesterday. I fought really hard out there today and I suppose that shows a bit of character because it could really have been anything today," said Garrett, the 2007 Open de Espana champion at Country Club Mediterraneo.
"My putting saved my life, pretty much, so I'm quite happy with a 73. A little bit different to yesterday but I'll take it. I didn't really hit anything close so the birdie putt on the last was probably the closest putt all day for birdie. It was good. It wasn't good, but it was a good result in the end."
Garrett was surprised to be leading as England's Laura Davies was eight under when she teed off, but the Englishwoman triple bogeyed the last hole to slip back into a group at five under.
"I'm a little surprised. I saw Laura, early on, was shooting the lights out and she must have had a bad finish, I'm not sure. It's tougher in the afternoon. The greens are a bit slower and a bit bumpier and you can kind of see the grass growing in front of your eyes," she said.
Germany's Caroline Masson, England's Florentyna Parker and French duo Joanna Klatten and Celine Palomar were a stroke back at six under par.
Davies, the 2010 champion, shared sixth place just two shots off the lead with Esther Choe of the United States, Australian Stacey Keating and Italian Sophie Sandolo.
Local player Sara Beautell Largo and Carlota Ciganda were the best placed Spanish players in a six-way share of 13th place on three under, while the defending champion Melissa Reid shot a 71 to end one under. A total of 63 players made the cut, which fell at two over par with many players now in a position to challenge for the title this weekend.
Collated scores at the end of round 2:
137 - Nikki Garrett (AUS) 64 73
138 - Celine Palomar (FRA) 71 67, Florentyna Parker (ENG) 69 69, Joanna Klatten (FRA) 69 69, Caroline Masson (DEU) 69 69
139 - Esther Choe (USA) 70 69, Laura Davies (ENG) 69 70, Stacey Keating (AUS) 70 69, Sophie Sandolo (ITA) 69 70
140 - Nontaya Srisawang (THA) 71 69, Hannah Burke (ENG) 70 70, Lee-Anne Pace (ZAF) 68 72
141 - Cassandra Kirkland (FRA) 71 70, Carly Booth (SCO) 72 69, Trish Johnson (ENG) 67 74, Julie Greciet (FRA) 69 72, Sara Beautell Largo (ESP) 70 71, Carlota Ciganda (ESP) 71 70
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