Ashleigh Strong at Halfway Mark

Jin Joo Hong of Korea during the second day of the 14th Evian Masters Tournament, at the Evian Masters Golf Club, Evian, Haute-Savoie, France. Credit: Tristan Jones
South Africa’s sole representative in the Evian Masters, in Evian-les-Bains, France, returned an even-par card for the second round, good enough to stay within five shots of the half-way leaders, Diana D’Alessio and Jin Joo Hong.

Next best were a group of three for tournament totals of 140, a mere two shots ahead of South Africa’s most promising rookie in this year’s Ladies European Tour.

One bogey and one birdie on each nine has left Simon ideally placed to answer any concerns following her uneventful appearance at the Women’s World Matchplay Championship, where she suffered a first-round exist at the hands of top-ranked Lorena Ochoa.
Meanwhile Evian Masters first-timer D’Alessio fired a bogey-free four-under-par 68 to snatch a share of the halfway lead in France, carding two birdies on both the front and the back nine to tie for the overnight lead with South Korean rookie Jin Joo Hong, who had a 70, on seven-under-par at the Evian Masters Resort.
D’Alessio and Hong are three shots clear of the nearest contenders. Sweden’s Annika Sorenstam is one of three players on four-under-par alongside first-round leader American Brittany Lincicome and South Korean Jeong Jang.
It could have been an even greater overnight lead for D’Alessio and Hong but both players were determined not to let the pressure get to them.
“I looked at [the scoreboard] once today going into 10, and was like ‘woah! Don’t look at it’,” said 32-year-old D’Alessio, who has not been in contention for the lead of a tournament since 2006.
“I instantly made some kind of swirly swings so I opted not to look at [the scoreboard] until I made my last hole on the 18th, just to see what everybody was doing.
“I am not going to look at the scoreboard – it makes me too nervous. I am nervous now so I hope I can sleep!”
Co-leader Hong said she would use her victory at the Hana Bank Kolon Championship in December as her motivation.
“It’s different here (Evian) from Korea, so I just have to make adjustments,” she said. “But I want to do well.”
Lincicome admitted she needed to tighten aspects of her game in order to force her way up the leaderboard on day three.
“My second shots in were terrible so I’m just going to keep working on them and see if we can get them back,” said the 21-year-old.
“My putting was good and my stroke felt really good, but I left like nine of them short and if I would have gotten them to the hole they would have gone in.”
Sorenstam, who admitted this week that she was not feeling ‘100 percent’ was pleased with her round.
“It is obvious that I am rusty and I need to play and kind of get in the tournament mode,” she said. “I wouldn’t say I’m out of place at times, but it’s been a while since I’ve really played.”
A reduced field of 72 will begin the third day’s play. Swedish duo Sophie Gustafson and Linda Wessberg will start the third day at three under, following second-day rounds of 72.
“It seemed like everything was decent but nothing was really special,” said Gustafson.
Wessberg, who is paired with South Korea’s Mi Hyun Kim tomorrow, added: “I guess and sometimes the ball just doesn’t go in the hole. I’ve been putting great; rolling the ball great but it just didn’t turn.”
England’s Laura Davies carded a two-under-par 70 to take herself to three-under at the tournament in which she finished tied-second with 17-year-old American Michelle Wie last year.
Wie birdied the 18th to finish at one-under-par – her first round to break par since 2006. She starts the third day at level par. “It feels like a breakthrough almost,” she said.
“It almost feels like I just got that out of my system. I broke under par today and I played solidly today.”
Evian Masters
Evian Masters Golf Club
26th – 29th July 2007
Scores at End of Round 2

137 – Diana D’Alessio (USA) 69 68, Jin Joo Hong (KOR) 67 70
140 – Annika Sorenstam (SWE) 71 69, Jeong Jang (KOR) 69 71, Brittany Lincicome (USA) 66 74
141 – Momoko Ueda (JPN) 74 67, Juli Inkster (USA) 73 68, Natalie Gulbis (USA) 72 69, Laura Davies (ENG) 71 70, Mi Hyun Kim (KOR) 69 72, Sophie Gustafson (SWE) 69 72, Linda Wessberg (SWE) 69 72, Kyeong Bae (KOR) 67 74
142 – Shi Hyun Ahn (KOR) 73 69, Lorena Ochoa (MEX) 72 70, Maria Hjorth (SWE) 71 71, Laura Diaz (USA) 71 71, Ashleigh Simon (SA) 70 72, Karrie Webb (AUS) 70 72, Sun Ju Ahn (KOR) 69 73, Christina Kim (USA) 67 75, Pat Hurst (USA) 66 76, Eun Hee Ji (KOR) 66 76
143 – Ji-Yai Shin (KOR) 73 70, Becky Brewerton (WAL) 72 71, Sarah Lee (KOR) 71 72, Joo Mi Kim (KOR) 71 72
144 – Virginie Lagoutte-Clement (FRA) 76 68, Michele Redman (USA) 75 69, Catriona Matthew (SCO) 74 70, Stephanie Arricau (FRA) 73 71, Michelle Wie (USA) 73 71, Il-Mi Chung (KOR) 73 71, Karin Sjodin (SWE) 72 72, Meena Lee (KOR) 71 73, Rachel Hetherington (AUS) 71 73, Angela Park (BRA) 70 74
145 – Nicole Castrale (USA) 75 70, Morgan Pressel (USA) 73 72, Cristie Kerr (USA) 72 73, Sherri Steinhauer (USA) 72 73
146 – Candie Kung (TAI) 78 68, Nikki Garrett (AUS) 75 71, Suzann Pettersen (NOR) 74 72, Amy Yang (KOR) 73 73, Ai Miyazato (JPN) 73 73, Ji-Hee Lee (KOR) 73 73, Seon Hwa Lee (SKO) 72 74, In Kyung Kim (KOR) 71 75
147 – Helen Alfredsson (SWE) 77 70, Lisa Hall (ENG) 77 70, Paula Creamer (USA) 75 72, Na On Min (KOR) 75 72, Lynn Brooky (NZ) 75 72, Angela Stanford (USA) 73 74, Brittany Lang (USA) 73 74, Young Kim (KOR) 72 75, Hee Young Park (KOR) 72 75
148 – Sophie Giquel (FRA) 78 70, Lindsey Wright (AUS) 76 72, Rebecca Hudson (ENG) 72 76
149 – Wendy Doolan (AUS) 73 76
150 – Gwladys Nocera (FRA) 80 70, Jee Young Lee (KOR) 77 73, Veronica Zorzi (ITA) 77 73, Karen-Margrethe Juul (DEN) 77 73, Sung Ah Yim (KOR) 76 74, Silvia Cavalleri (ITA) 74 76, Hiroko Fujishima (JPN) 74 76, Gloria Park (KOR) 73 77, Stacy Prammanasudh (USA) 73 77, Meaghan Francella (USA) 71 79
Missed the cut:
151 – Carin Koch (SWE) 78 73, Akane Iijima (JPN) 76 75
152 – Reilley Rankin (USA) 77 75, Hyun Hee Moon (KOR) 76 76, Liselotte Neumann (SWE) 72 80
153 – Trish Johnson (ENG) 76 77, Julieta Granada (PAR) 76 77, Heather Young (USA) 76 77, Karine Icher (FRA) 75 78
154 – Riikka Hakkarainen (FIN) 78 76, Na Yeon Choi (KOR) 77 77, Catrin Nilsmark (SWE) 76 78
155 – Birdie Kim (KOR) 76 79, Cecilia Ekelundh (SWE) 74 81
156 – Paula Marti (ESP) 77 79
159 – Patricia Meunier Lebouc (FRA) 81 78
160 – Bettina Hauert (GER) 82 78
172 – Nora Angehrn (SWI) 85 87 
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