Sweden’s Julia Engström had a near-perfect day on the second day of the Magical Kenya Ladies Open presented by M-Pesa, dropping only one shot and holing seven birdies to return an impressive score of 6-under par 66. Her stunning performance takes her total score, after 36 holes, to 11-under 133, opening up a comfortable six-shot lead at the top.
Julia, who started her round from the tenth tee in the morning, got off to consecutive birdies at the par-4 10th and the par-5 11th before holing consecutive birdies at the par-4 13th and the par-4 14th. She holed the only bogey of the round at the par-4 16th to card a back nine total of 33. On the front nine, she played exceptionally well, holing birdies at the par-3 fourth, the par-5 sixth and the par-4 ninth to card a total of 33.
Speaking after the round, the 2018 Ladies European Tour Rookie of the Year said she was happy with her performance adding that she is enjoying her first visit to Kenya.
“I started off well and made four birdies in the last five holes. I didn’t hole that many putts in the middle of the round, but I finished off well. I hit more greens today, so I’m happy with my round,” she said.
“It is my first time in Kenya and I’m really enjoying it. It is quite hot but it’s pretty cold in Sweden right now so I’m enjoying the last sunshine of the year,” she added.
Asked whether she had started entertaining the possibility of this event being her first Tour victory, she said: “It would be great. Obviously, it is golf, and anything can happen. It is a tough course; we are playing it long and you need to play decent. I’m happy with my two days and I had a good weekend in Spain.”
With her second-round performance, Julia established a comfortable lead over nearest joint challengers, Kelsey Macdonald of Scotland and Ursula Wikström of Finland who both ended their round with 5-under par 139 scores from the two rounds.
Kelsey, who started her round at the tenth, carded a superb back nine total of 31, having holed birdies at the par-5 11th, the par-4 13th, par-4 14th, par-3 17th and the par-4 18th. On the front nine, she carded a total of 37 having dropped shots at the fifth and seventh holes, and having only made birdie at the second hole. Hers was a step up in performance from yesterday where she returned a 1-under par 71 score after 18 holes.
Speaking after her round, Kelsey said: “I hit it great off the tee, gave myself a lot of chances and my putting was really solid today. It was great to get out in the first group when it was a little less humid. I’m just really happy with my performance today.”
On her part, Ursula had a blemish-free scorecard; carding a 33 on the back nine having held par on all holes. It is at the front nine where she found form, holing birdies at the second, fourth, eighth and ninth holes for a total of 32.
Meanwhile, Golf Park’s elite amateur Naomi Wafula – who was one of two Kenyans left in the field, missed the Cut to play in the remaining two rounds after she carded a 7-over par 72 score for the round to take her total to 13-over par 157 after 36 holes. By the time of going to press, Bhavi Shah, the only other Kenyan in the field, was 23-over par for the tournament after 17 holes.
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Europe beckons for South African rugby after Kiwi snub
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Jul 20 – World Cup-winning Springbok Schalk Brits believes the future of South African rugby lies in Europe after New Zealand said there was no room for sides from the republic in Super Rugby.
“All of this jet lag and flying across different time zones just does not work,” said the hooker who retired after the triumphant 2019 World Cup campaign.
“We have got so many South Africans playing in Europe and it would be awesome to see them in action here for European clubs.”
With New Zealand favouring a trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition, South Africa Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux will address the media Tuesday about the way forward.
There has been no rugby in South Africa since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, which claimed 5,033 lives by late Sunday, the most in an African country.
Here, AFP Sport looks at the possibilities for the world champions Springboks and Super Rugby teams the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers.
There has been speculation that the six-round annual tournament will be cut to four matches with New Zealand and Australia playing in South Africa only every second year.
That would be a huge blow for SA Rugby coffers as the century-old rivalry with the All Blacks makes them a huge drawcard.
South Africa might consider abandoning the Championship and pursuing a suggestion by former All Blacks Justin Marshall and Jeff Wilson for three-Test tours between the great rivals.
“British and Irish Lions tours are so successful because we look forward to them,” noted another ex-All Black, John Kirwan. The same could be said of an All Blacks-Springboks series.
Should South African franchises move north, would the Springboks follow suit and apply to join England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales in a ‘Seven Nations’ championship?
Having the world champions on board would surely excite the organisers and costs would be greatly reduced if the Springboks played their three away matches on consecutive weekends.
England, Ireland, France and Wales, in particular, would bring freshness for rugby followers, who have not rushed to the turnstiles for Championship visits by Australia and Argentina.
Ask the SA Rugby treasurer for his ‘dream’ line-up and he would surely say a multi-Test tour by the All Blacks and participation in the ‘Seven Nations’.
Although not official yet, the reality is that New Zealand want to play some Australian sides and the Pacific Islands in a new competition while excluding South Africa and Argentina.
The original version, a Super 10 between 1993 and 1995, was a superb competition, but constant tinkering and expansion has led to waning interest in a difficult-to-follow event.
Even those supporting the Golden Lions of South Africa could not have derived too much satisfaction from a 94-7 thrashing of Japanese visitors the Sunwolves three years ago.
South Africa sides often battled with time differences in Australasia — New Zealand is 11 hours ahead of the republic — and were weary after four-match tours.
Pro14 chief executive Martin Anayi says he would welcome Super Rugby ‘rejects’ the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers into an expanded edition.
“The tournament works well but could be even better if we added some South African teams,” he said, referring to a competition that also includes Irish, Italian, Scottish and Welsh teams.
But there may be no room for the two current South African Pro14 participants, the Cheetahs and Kings, who have experienced very different fortunes.
While the Cheetahs have been competitive, the Kings won just four of 55 matches in three seasons with some of the losing margins embarrassing.
The domestic competition has survived constant format changes to remain the vital ‘nursery’ from which Springboks emerge.
First staged in 1892, it was the bedrock of South African rugby until the dawn of professionalism after the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
As Test and Super Rugby fixtures took up an increasing amount of the season, the Currie Cup often battled for calendar space.
But it survived and this year could feature the four Super Rugby sides plus the Cheetahs, Kings, Griquas and Pumas, if play is possible amid the coronavirus.
Kenya records highest number of deaths from Covid-19
Kenya’s coronavirus cases rise to 13,771 after 418 more infections
Kenya on Monday reported 418 more Covid-19 infections, raising the country’s tally to 13,771 since the virus was first confirmed on March 13.
Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Rashid Aman also reported four more deaths, raising the toll to 238. He rectified an earlier report about 19 deaths in a single day, which would have been the highest number ever recorded in Kenya.
The 418 new patients were found following the testing of 2,474 samples in the last 24 hours.
Four hundred and eight of them were Kenyans and 10 foreigners while male patients numbered 263 and female patients 155.
Dr Aman also announced that 494 patients had been discharged, raising the country’s total number of recoveries to 5,616.
Of the recovered patients, 465 were under home care and the rest in hospitals.
More to follow