South Africa’s Cara Gorlei carded 1- under par 72 in the second round of action at the 2024 Magical Kenya Ladies Open, to take her total for the tournament to 5-under par, 141 to go top of the leaderboard ahead of the third round.
Cara, who started the day as part of a three-way tie at the top of the leaderboard alongside England’s Eleanor Givens and Lauren Walsh from Ireland, wasted little time in making her intent clear, with three birdies from her first three holes.
She would drop her first shot at the par-5 seventh, to see her card a score of 35 in the front nine. She started her back nine in almost similar fashion to the front nine, this time hitting three birdies through the first four holes, before double bogeying the par-4 fourteenth. That would be a turning point in her round as she struggled through the last four holes, with bogeys at the 16th and 18th to post a score of 37 on the back nine.
Speaking after the round, Cara Gorlei said:
“Today was definitely tougher than yesterday(Thursday} but somehow, I managed to put in a good score after some good and bad runs during the eighteen holes.
“I started birdie, birdie, par, birdie got off to a hot start and then I had a nice little four-putt that set me back a little bit and then came in slow. To start the back nine, I had another three in a row, so that was great, but also still just came in slow; the putting was just very hot and cold.
“It took me a little while to get over the four putts that’s why I guess why I slowed down but once I started the back nine I was like come on let’s just get something going here so you just got to put it in play on this course and I didn’t do that as well as yesterday but I’m still happy with the under par round.”
Cara is a stroke ahead of 20-year-old Nataliya Gusevan, a debutant on the Ladies European Tour, who carded 3-under par 70 for the round, taking her total to 4-under par, 142.
Speaking after her round, Natalia said: “I am taking it hole-by-hole here because it is very windy and the conditions tough for us as it is pretty hot out there. I am just trying to stay in the moment, then get out there and have fun and enjoy myself.
“This is a very tight golf course with very unpredictable greens, and you just got to be in the moment and don’t let yourself down and just trust yourself trust your game and your instincts and get going.”
Speaking about her first impressions of Kenya, she said:
“It is a unique place [and even though] it is hot out here, I am enjoying myself seeing all the different animals around – this is very exotic; and the food is amazing as well. I am just so happy to be out here and just playing every event on the Ladies European Tour.”
Italy’s Alesandra Fanali who had led the round at one point, is part of a four-way tie for third place alongside Japan’s Ayako Uehara, Chiara Tamburlini of Switzerland and Singapore’s Shannon Tan on overall scores of 3-under par, 143.
The round’s best score belonged to 23-year-old Samantha Bruce of the Philippines, who played a blemish free round, to post a 5-under par 68 score, courtesy of five birdies, and taking her total for the tournament to 2-under par 144; which leaves her in a tie for seventh place going into Moving Day.
The cut line was set at 6-over par,152, with a total of 67 players making the cut to play into the weekend for an opportunity to win part of the tournament’s 300,000 Euros (KShs 51,900,000) prize fund.
No Kenyan made the cut
None of the five Kenyans playing at the event made the cut with Naomi Wafula finishing the day as the highest finisher of the lot with a 13-over par 159 score to end her campaign tied in 95th.
Jacquelyne Walter, who played a solid 2-over par round yesterday, shot 13-over par on Friday to take her total for the tourney to 15-over par 161 for a tie in 100th place.
Tournament debutant, Kellie Gachaga, carded 81 on both days, taking her total for the tournament to 16-over par 162, two shots better than Chanelle Wangari who ended her challenge at the event with an 18-over par 164 score. Meanwhile Mercy Nyanchama shot a round of 80 on Friday, seven better than she had on Thursday, for a total of 27-over par 173.