Surprise package Hall stuns the stars

Unheralded Lydia Hall is in front after a 5-under 67 in Thursday’s 2nd round the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters..

Unheralded Lydia Hall has shot a 5-under par 67 in Thursday’s second round to take an unexpected one-shot lead in the prestigious Omega Dubai Ladies Masters.

The 22-year-old surprise package from Bridgend in South Wales carded seven birdies and two bogeys to climb from a first-round eighth into first place with a 7-under total of 137 after 36 holes.

Anna Nordqvist of Sweden is in second place heading into Friday’s third round after a second round 68 with Denmark’s Iben Tinning in third, a shot further back after a 69.

Russian Maria Verchenova, Norwegian Marianne Skarpnord and England’s Melissa Reid fimnished the day tied for fourth.

Hall started out with a hat-trick of birdies from the second and turned in a four-under 31 after picking up two more shots on the sixth and the eighth holes.

She came home on her second with in one-under 36 after a bogey at the 10th and two closing birdies.

“I just played really solid. Tee to green was really, really good; approach shots within 15 feet on the front nine,” said the third year Ladies European Tour player, who this season posted a career best tie for sixth at the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco.

“I just played really solid and the putts, got them rolling. I was really pleased. I made a couple of mistakes on nine and 10 with a three putt on 10, but I just refocused and gained concentration.”

She hasn’t played competitively for 10 weeks but has been working on her game at Machynys Peninsula Golf and Country Club with her coach John Peters, who acted as her caddie.

“I didn’t go to Asia, so I’ve been working really hard on fitness and with my coach, and, yeah, things have been going really, really good. I was looking forward to this week,” she said.

Tinning, who is playing in her farewell tournament, hopes to finish her career on a high and is adamant that she has made the correct decision.

Denmark’s Iben Tinning playing her farewell tournament

“I’m all right with it to be honest. I’ve known it for years. I’m not saying that I don’t feel anything out there and I’m definitely going for more pins than I normally would, because why be a chicken the last event?” she said.

Despite five tournament victories, the 2005 European No.1 says she will not reconsider. “I’m too injured. It’s not possible. There’s pain in my hip and it hurts every time I walk, so it’s not really an option, unless I get absolutely fit all of a sudden,” she added.

Her protégé, Danish rookie Monica V Christiansen, was less pleased than her mentor after she was disqualified for signing for the wrong score. She signed for a three instead of a four on hole-five.

Overnight leader Florentyna Parker carded a 75 and ended the day five shots back in 10th. American Michelle Wie carded a level-par 72 and finished in a tie for 16th position.

In the race for the Henderson Money List title, Lee-Anne Pace’s only challenger Laura Davies effectively conceded defeat in her battle to claim Europe’s number one crown.

Davies was seeking a top three finish to overtake the South African but shot a 73 to finish the day in tied 48th on four-over while Pace was three shots better, in a tie for 26th after carding a 72.

Davies was two under for the round after 16 holes but stumbled to a triple bogey on the 389-yard par four eighth, which was her penultimate hole.

Davies said: “The tournament is over for me as far as I’m concerned. It’s now just a matter of playing and trying to get a couple of really good under par rounds on the weekend.”

She wished Pace the best for the final two rounds: “She’s going to win the Money List. She’s won more money than me and imagine she’ll have a decent round today and go clear and win the Money List in style now so good luck to her. She’s had a great year,” she said.