Australia’s Kirsten Rudgeley fired a round of 69 (-3) on day two of the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España to lead on nine-under-par.
The LET rookie sat in second place overnight after an opening round of 66 (-6) and had a steady start making her first birdie on the fifth.
Rudgeley then made two more in quick succession on the sixth and eighth holes before adding another on hole 12.
The 22-year-old dropped her first shot of the week on the 18th for her round of three-under and to lead the LET’s season finale by two at the midway mark.
“It was good, again I played really steady golf,” said Rudgeley. “I holed some good putts, missed some putts but that’s just golf and I’m just going to keep going and see what happens.
“The wind definitely wasn’t there this afternoon as much as it was yesterday, but some of those pins made up for it. If I walk past a leaderboard, I will have a look, but it doesn’t really bother me either way. I just play my own game and see what happens.
“I just play golf and you can’t do anything about it, so you just have to keep playing and see what happens. The target to make as many birdies as possible is always a good target, but we’ll see. I want to play golf, enjoy it and take it all in.”
Five players sit in a tie for second place with France’s Anne-Lise Caudal, Spain’s Ana Peláez Trivino, India’s Aditi Ashok, Norway’s Madelene Stavnar and Sweden’s Linn Grant all on seven-under-par.
Caudal fired the round of the day after shooting a 67 (-5) with six birdies and only one bogey on her scorecard.
It’s an important week for the Frenchwoman, who currently sits 71st in the 2023 Race to Costa del Sol, and only the top 70 retain full LET status for 2024.
“It’s been really good. Yesterday was very tough and the conditions were very windy,” said Caudal, who last secured victory on the LET in 2012 at the Ladies German Open.
“I didn’t hit the ball very well and it was a good fight to be able to shoot two-under-par and today it was less windy, but my game was much better. I was five-under after nine and I had some opportunities on the back nine, I didn’t make it but I’m very happy.
“Obviously, I need to finish I don’t know where because I’m not calculating! But I know I need to play well. My goal is always to be up there and that’s what I’m trying. I’m just focusing on shot after shot and not thinking about the result and I think it will work nicely.”
Spain’s Peláez Trivino followed up her opening round of 69 (-3) with a 68 (-4) on day two at Real Club de Golf Las Brisas.
The LET winner is one of the six players who has the potential to win the 2023 Race to Costa del Sol but needs a victory this week.
“I’m just enjoying my rounds, feeling my shots and going day by day, step by step,” said the Spanish star. “I guess I have given myself a chance.
“I’m not stressing too much about the Race to Costa del Sol, I’m just trying to enjoy my golf and feeling like myself, and I think I’m doing a really good job on that. I’m really concentrating on the shots I have in the moment; I’m trying to live in the moment and not think about the future.
“I have played this course twice in my life. I played it in May, and I really enjoyed and when it was announced as being here, I was happy because it’s a great golf course and most players enjoy it.”
India’s Aditi Ashok, who won the season-opener in Kenya, has also had rounds of 69-68 on the first two days in Spain and was bogey-free today.
Ashok explained: “It’s been good, obviously I travelled from Florida last week and got here on Tuesday so considering that I think it’s been a good opening two rounds. Hopefully, I can use what I’ve learnt from the golf course over these two days and keep that going the next two days.
“Today, the wind was opposite to yesterday, so it made some of the tee shots difficult because you’re hitting a different line and a different club. It’s something to adjust to, but we’ve been taking it one hole at a time and that’s been working so far.”
South Africa’s Lee-Anne Pace sits in outright seventh place on six-under-par with Spanish amateur Andrea Revuelta and France’s Celine Boutier one shot further back in T8 on five-under.
Dutch star Anne Van Dam, Spain’s Carlota Ciganda and Belgium’s Manon De Roey are all in a share of tenth place on four-under.
Based on the current positions of the Race to Costa del Sol contenders after the second round, Thailand’s Trichat Cheenglab is back in pole position and is projected to stay at the top of the rankings.
The third round begins at 9.45 am (local time) with the final group going out at 11.46 am (local time) in Spain.