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Holmqvist leads at women's British Open as sole player under par

(Reuters) - Dani Holmqvist took a one-shot halfway lead at the women’s British Open on Friday after braving the rough conditions at Royal Troon to become the only player in the field to make the cut with an under-par score.

The Swede carded a second round 70 to go one-under for the championship while strong gusts and rain at the Scottish links continued to make life so difficult for the players that the cut line eventually came at nine-over.

The 32-year-old Holmqvist was the only player on the par-71 course who came close to taming the links over the two days, even though her four birdies on Friday were offset by three bogeys.

“Conditions were really tough,” she said. “I felt like it was brutal out there but I’m happy to get in under par. We had a lot of crosswinds and the front nine played pretty long.

“I think I would just need to stick to my game plan. You can’t really do more on this course and with these conditions. They have been so tough these two days.”

American Austin Ernst, who also carded 70, and Germany’s Sophia Popov (72) were tied for second at even par.

Australia’s Minjee Lee, who is among five tied for fourth, and South Korea’s Inbee Park were the only players to card below 70 on the day, with both shooting 69. Park’s stellar score saw her jump from 88th to tie for 17th.

Overnight leader Amy Olson, who carded a four-under 67 to lead by three on Thursday, followed up with a miserable, birdie-free 81, featuring six bogeys and two double bogeys, to finish at six-over-par overall, tied for 33rd.

Defending champion Hinako Shibuno also suffered a woeful second round of 78 and missed the cut after slipping to 12-over.

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ian Chadband

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