Malaysia’s Ainil Bakar, Michelle Koh and Aretha Pan progressed to the final round of the EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open after making the 36-hole cut of four-over-par.
Ainil shrugged off a poor start with three birdies on her last five holes to sign in a 73 and maintain her position as leading Malaysian in T30 place on one-over-par. The 29-year-old birdied the par-five 14th and nailed a 50-foot bomb on the par-five 17th, rounding off her fabulous finish with a superb approach on the 18th which set up a 10-foot birdie.
“I’m very happy to make two birdies coming in as I didn’t have a great start – I doubled-bogeyed the first hole and doubled the 12th as well after some really bad shots,” she said.
“Basically I’m just going to go out there tomorrow and shoot as low as I can, make as many birdies as I can. The greens are tough, so it’s all in the putting … it doesn’t matter how far you hit it,” added Ainil, who heads to Europe tomorrow night to play in next week’s Neuchatel Ladies Championship in Switzerland.
Koh carded a second round of 73, placing her in T48 position on three-over-par with 18 holes to go.
“I’m happy I made the cut but it’s not exactly been my best golf so far,” said Koh. “I’ve been working hard on my swing, trying to figure things out, and it seems to be working on the golf course. I just need to build up some confidence, to really trust it and believe in what I can do.
“I was hitting a lot better today but I just wasn’t converting enough putts. I chipped a lot better too,” added the 29-year-old, who recently put a new putter in her bag.
Pan meanwhile showed great character to birdie the last two holes to make the cut on the bubble after a second consecutive 74.
“I had a shaky start, just couldn’t judge the yardage on the front nine with my approach shots – I was hitting it over and missed on the wrong side. It’s very tough because if you’re over the green, it’s downhill and the greens are so fast,” said Pan, 25.
The fourth Malaysian in the field, Dianne Luke, also struggled with her approach shots and failed to make it to the final round after a 76 left her on five-over-par.
“I didn’t hit it that well today, I drove it OK but into the green I missed it in the wrong places – and that made it really tough to get up and down. It was the right distance, just left and right,” noted the 28-year-old, who had younger brother Daniel on the bag.
China’s rising star Du Mohan heads into the final round with a healthy lead after shooting 67 for the second day in a row. The 17-year-old’s total of 10-under-par places her five shots ahead of compatriot Zhang Wei Wei and Korea’s Seo Ji Hyun.