South Africa’s Ashleigh Simon fired a scorching eight-under-par 65 to roar within a stroke of Nicole Broch Larsen of Denmark in the second round of the Ladies European Tour’s Helsingborg Open on Friday.
The Wanna Be A Champion player collected nine birdies at Vasatorps Golf Club to move to eight under 138, while Larsen kept her overnight lead with a four under par 69.
Simon’s start was delayed due to a threat of electrical storms and the two-time Ladies European Tour winner knocked in her last putt as darkness was falling.
“I’m really chuffed,” Simon told the press in Mörarp.
“I’d been hitting it left the last few weeks and was just getting it around, but I found something this week and worked on it over the phone with my coach, Doug Wood. My grip has gotten quite strong, so I weakened that a little bit.
“I got off to a really good start with three birdies in a row, lipped out on my fourth and then holed a really nice putt from off the green at the par three 14th.
“Unfortunately I bogeyed the 18th, which was my ninth, but nine was in my head and I nearly got to it. I putted really well, hit some nice shots and just converted them.”
Swedish rookie Lina Boqvist is third on seven under, while Sunshine Ladies Tour campaigner Katie Burnett from the United States is a further stroke adrift.
Fellow South Africans Laurette Maritz and Melissa Eaton also advanced to the weekend.
The evergreen Maritz carded rounds of 71 and 74 to tie for 29th one under 145, while rookie Eaton is joint 45th on 147 after posting rounds of 74 and 73.
Sunshine Ladies Tour winners Nicole Garcia (76-74) and Stacy Bregman (74-75), Ladies European Tour champion Connie Chen (72-76) and Bonita Bredenhann from Namibia (73-75) all missed the cut, set at two over 148.
Photo 1 caption: Ashleigh Simon pictured teeing off on the front nine during the second round of the Ladies European Tour’s Helsingborg Open. The SA star fired a scorching 8-under-par 65 on Friday, to close to within a stroke of overnight leader, Nicole Broch Larsen of Denmark. Photo: Tristan Jones / LET
With editing by gsport