Pettersen sets Irish record

World No 3 Suzann Pettersen and Dewi Claire Schreefel led the Ladies Irish Open by a stroke on Saturday night.

World No.3 Suzann Pettersen of Norway and Dewi Claire Schreefel of the Netherlands led the Ladies Irish Open by a stroke when Saturday’s second round ended prematurely.

Heavy rain and thunder and lightning at at Killeen Castle caused play to be suspended at 6.10pm with golfers still out on the course. They’ll return at 7.40pm on Sunday to complete their riounds.

A stunning course record nine-under-par 63 took Pettersen to the top of the leader board at 10 under par early in the day.

Her round included seven birdies and an eagle at the par-five 12th hole, but it could so easily hasve been a 59 according to her playing partner, Christina Kim.

Pettersen, 30, won the 2008 title at Portmarnock Links and is playing this week to qualify for The Solheim Cup, which will take place at the same venue from September 23-25.

With her performance, she will have put a smile on the face of the European team captain Alison Nicholas when she heard that Pettersen had said: “I’m now in a position where I can automatically qualify.”

She was also fairly happy with her round. “I would have taken ten under total when I teed off this morning. The conditions were perfect, hardly any wind and I just figured out a few adjustments from how to play yesterday because it was a lot firmer on the bounce than it was last year,” she said.

“The par fives, you have got to try and take advantage of the par fives, especially if you hit good tee shots. There are short par fours, the greens are rolling good. There is nothing saying you can’t do it but nine under is always a good score.

“I made an eagle and then missed a six footer for eagle on the next par five, so it could easily have been two; but it can always be a few less.”

Schreefel, looking for her first victory on the Ladies European Tour, ended her round just before the suspension of play and had seven birdies and one bogey in a 66.

The 25-year-old, who lives in Santa Monica, said: “I’m very happy. I played pretty good and made the putts for birdie, so it’s good.

“I haven’t played this course very much. This is the first week, so I felt comfortable after yesterday and I felt comfortable after last week because I played well at the British. I played my game and you’ve got to hit the ball in the right spots and you’re going to have opportunities.”

Azahara Munoz, the world no.50 from Spain, finished a stroke back after a solid second round of 68, containing five birdies and one bogey.

Sweden’s Maria Hjorth, Irish-born Alison Walshe from the United States and England’s Melissa Reid were in a group on eight under along with South African Lee-Anne Pace with a hole to play.

England’s Laura Davies finished at seven under, while Lisa Maguire, the 16-year-old amateur from Cavan, is the leading Irish player at five under par after a 68.

Her sister Leona will have two holes to play when the second round action resumes and she sits on one over par, just inside the projected cut mark at two over.