Masson one shot clear at Carnoustie

Germany’s Caroline Masson takes a one stroke lead into the weekend at the Ricoh Women’s British Open.

Germany’s Caroline Masson takes a one stroke lead into the weekend at the Ricoh Women’s British Open.
The 22-year-old from Gladbeck, who played in the last group on Friday, fired a second round of seven under par 65 to edge ahead at the end of a glorious second day at Carnoustie Links.
The driving rain of the first day gave way to sweeter skies on Friday and Masson played in warm and calm late afternoon conditions. She saved the best until last posting seven birdies, with four on the front nine to lead on 11 under par.
Masson hit the ball solidly from tee to green and explained that she had taken tips from Martin Kaymer, via their shared coach, Günter Kessler.
Over the past fortnight she has been working on a flatter ball flight to cope with the links and her caddie, Martin Ridley, himself a PGA professional, explained that she has been able to club a lot better.
“It’s worked pretty well and we’re just trying to prepare for British Open conditions, so tried to hit some low balls, and that was pretty much it,” said second year Ladies European Tour professional, Masson.
“What was probably most important, he told me some stuff Martin told him about his British Open and his attitude and all that. You really have to like links golf and accept whatever comes, whatever conditions you have, and I think that helped me quite a lot.”
Masson carded her first birdie at the third and picked up further shots at the sixth and the seventh, holing a 15 metre putt from the front of the green. She rolled in a three metre birdie putt at the ninth to reach the turn in four under par 32. On the second nine, she birdied the 13th after hitting a grip seven-iron to three metres. She hit a four-iron stiff on the par-four 15th and almost holed an eagle putt on the par-five 17th hole.
“Everything was just really solid. I mean, I hit the fairways, I hit the greens, hit some really close, made some putts. Hardly made any mistakes, so I think that was just the key the last two days,” said Masson, whose best finish on Tour was a tie for second at the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco in March.
“I’m playing really well this year, had a couple of top tens, a second place, and I’ve hit the ball really well the whole year. Right now it feels like it’s all coming together. I’m putting well, my short game is all right, and I’m just not in trouble very much on this golf course. Yeah, it feels really, really good right now.”
From a field of 144, 46 players finished with sub-par scores overall. First round leader Meena Lee is still very much in contention, placed one stroke back alongside Inbee Park, who shot 64, as they head into the weekend.
Three players are two strokes further adrift at eight under, including Monday qualifier Dewi Claire Schreefel of the Netherlands, who added a 66 to Thursday’s 70. Se Ri Pak, the 2001 champion at Sunningdale, fired a 64 early in the day and was joined by Na Yeon Choi, who had a 67.
After the cut to the leading 68 players at +1, we’ve said goodbye to former champions Laura Davies and Sherri Steinhauer, as well as big names such as Diana Luna, Lee-Anne Pace, Christina Kim, Carin Koch and Karen Lunn.
Davies, who won the championship at Royal Birkdale in 1986, was just inside the cut line with a hole to play but took a nine on the par-four 18th after her ball twice found the Barry Burn and then a bunker, followed by a three-putt.
The battle for amateur honours and the Smyth Salver is led by Danielle Kang of the United States at three under par, followed by Germany’s Sophia Popov at two over, who was the only other amateur to make the cut. Popov and her family supported Masson from outside the ropes and cheered as she completed her round in the late evening sun.
Friday’s mild forecast is set to continue on Saturday, when highs of 17 degrees Celsius are predicted along with winds of 8-10 miles per hour.