Simon Bows out of British Open

by | Aug 4, 2007

 
Ashleigh Simon during the opening round of the Ricoh Women's British Open at the St. Andrews Old Course, St. Andrews, Scotland, UK. Credit: Tristan Jones/LET
South Africa’s sole representative in the Women’s British Open, Ashleigh Simon, has missed the cut, and won’t contest the remainder of the historic first women’s professional event at the home of golf, the Old Course at
St Andrews.
 

That only 18 players in a field of 150 of the world’s best golfers achieved a par-score or better at the cut means that consistent brilliance has positioned a few fortunate golfers within sight of an inaugural title, on a course renown for frustrating the best-laid plans among the most talented of them.
 
Simon should not be frustrated. Her talent is unmistakable, her demeanour is ideal, and she has already become the youngest-ever winner of an LET event in her rookie year on the world stage. In reality, her career is hardly begun, and Simon is unlikely to be ruffled.
 
Tournament leader Ochoa maintained her lead after the second round of the Women’s British Open – but the Mexican is being put under increasing pressure by Scot Catriona Matthew and Wendy Ward of the

United States
.
 
Top-ranked Scot Matthew wasn’t even on Ochoa’s radar at the beginning of the day – but fired a bogey-free round of five-under 68 to tie for second alongside Ward, who had a 70.
 
Ochoa began the second day’s play on the Old Course at
St Andrews with a two-stroke lead but she carded two birdies and two bogeys to finish level for the day. She remained at six-under – one ahead of Ward and Matthew.
 
After Friday evening the cut eliminated 82 players from six-over-par, and Simon’s opening rounds of 77 each for a half-way mark of eight-over-par 154, fourteen shots off World number one Lorena Ochoa, was two shots shy of the bar.

Ochoa started brightly, birdying the first hole to move three shots clear of
Sweden’s Louise Friberg and

Korean
In-Bee
Park
. But the 25-year-old slipped back to level for the day with a bogey on the 11th.

She then birdied the 14th to move to seven-under however a costly three-putt on the final hole gave Matthew and Ward the extra incentive. Not that Matthew needed inspiration to pursue the Mexican.

 
“Obviously it’s great today finishing those last few holes and there’s still some big crowds out there cheering me on, so it was a great feeling,” said the 37-year-old from Edinburgh, a two time winner on the LPGA Tour, with her last victory in 2004.
 
“[It’s] nice to get some support. When you play in the States all the time, [I] usually don’t quite have the whole support.”The home crowds were certainly doing their best to support Matthew, who became a first-time mum to daughter Katie in December.
 
Ochoa, though, a 12-time tournament winner, remained as confident and upbeat as usual in her quest to secure a first major championship victory. “Yes, it was a good day. It was tough, tough conditions,” she said.
 
“I’m very pleased with my round. I’m upset about that 3 putt on 18, but I didn’t leave myself in a good position for my second shot. Nothing I can do now. I’m just glad I still have the lead.”
 
Ochoa would have had to settle for a share of the lead had Ward not left herself with a massive 45-foot putt for par on the 18th hole. “I hit it firm, and it went left,” said the four-time LPGA Tournament winner.
 
“I thought it was going right, too, but it was really more of a mis-read than a mis-hit. Didn’t care to finish that way, but still very pleased with the day.”
 
Elsewhere,

England
’s Rebecca Hudson had to settle for a share of fourth place, after a bogey on the 18th left her on level-par for the day.
 
“I’m disappointed that I three-putted the last, but really pleased that I played well. I played the course well, even though the wind was coming from a different direction.
 
“We plotted well. I went in a bunker and still made par so I’m very pleased,” the 2006 Ladies Central European Open champion said.
 
Hudson is tied on three-under-par in total with defending champion Sherri Steinhauer of the United States, the 2003 champion Annika Sorenstam of Sweden, France’s Karine Icher and Japan’s Yuri Fudoh.
 
Sorenstam was in confident mood after posting an early round of 71. “I thought I hit the ball beautifully today,” said the former world number one.
 
“I thought I putted well but didn’t make as many putts. But other than that, I was staying to my game plan.
 
“I was trying to be patient, and if I made a mistake, my goal was to go to the next tee with a fresh mind, and I think I did pretty well there. So that’s my strategy for the next few days.”
 
Second-round play at the Ricoh Women’s British Open was suspended at 9:20 p.m. on Friday due to darkness with three players remaining on the Old Course at
St. Andrews.
 
The three players with two holes of their second rounds to complete are Beatriz Recari from
Spain, Angela Stanford from the
USA and

Sweden
’s Lotta Wahlin.

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