THROON, Scotland – As if Royal Troon wasn't playing hard enough for the world's best female golfers this week, Dani Holmqvist spins Scottish links swept around the wind with a nagging back injury from a car crash in 2018.
It doesn't stop the Swedish golfer, who is leading the Women's British Open after two rounds. when first-round leader Amy Olson shot 81-14 strokes worse than Thursday – and stars like Lexi Thompson, Brooke Henderson and defending champion Hinako Shibuno missed the cut, Holmqvist shot a 1-under-par 70 in windy morning conditions to be the only player under par after 36 holes.
Her two-day total of 141 left Holmqvist a battle ahead of Austin Ernst from the United States (70) and Sophia Popov from Germany (72). The rest of the 144-strong field was ample for a tournament that was played without spectators and in an isolated environment on the southwest coast due to the pandemic.
Holmqvist, 32, has seemingly come out of nowhere, after she missed the cut in 13 of the 20 events she played since November 2018, when the golf cart she was driving at the Blue Bay event on the LPGA Tour lost control and hit a wall. The crash resulted in a severely inflamed facet joint in Holmqvist's back requiring multiple injections and regular rehabilitation.
"It's a long process and very tedious," she said. "It's an everyday thing."
Capturing a first major title – indeed, a first professional victory at senior level – won't be easy, not just because of how difficult and long Troon plays in winds that often reach 50 mph
Two strokes behind Holmqvist with 1-over-par are former world No. 1 Lydia Ko (71) and current No. 8-ranked Minjee Lee, who shot 69 to take the lowest place round on Friday. Another shot back is Nelly Korda fourth after her round of 72.
"We were like, & # 39; Are you scared of 1-footers with this wind too? & # 39 ;, Korda said, referring to a conversation she had with playing partner Georgia Hall, the 2018 champion. "Because we shake it with wind and gusts."
After what she described as the best lap of her career to Thursday 67, Olson came back to Earth with a 10-over round that included six bogeys on her first 10 holes for double bogeys on Nos. 11 and 14.
The American worked his way home to limit the damage and won't feel off at 6-over
It turned out to be a week to forget for Lexi Thompson, who shot 75 on Thursday and Friday to miss the cut by two punches She avoided the shame of being punished for using her club's head to push long grass away from her ball. n on the 16th hole of her first round.
“Following a discussion between head referee David Rickman and the player prior to her signing her scorecard,” the R&A said in a statement Friday, “it was determined that although the player had a growing natural object behind her ball moved, it had returned to its original position.
"Therefore, the ball lay was not improved and there was no violation of Rule 8.1."