South Africa’s Connie Chen Gives Chase In Tenerife

South Africa’s Connie Chen will start Saturday’s third round just one stroke off the pace from Tenerife Open de España Femenino leader, Maria Balikoeva.  The Russian carded a second round 69 to take pole position at seven-under-par 137 at Golf Costa Adeje in the Canary Islands, while Chen tied for second with Scotland’s Kylie Walker and Amy Boulden from Wales on six under.  After a flawless opening 68, the South African used a pair of birdies at the 11th and 12th to cancel bogeys at the first and 17th and sealed a two under 70 with an eagle at the par-five third.

Chen joined the pro ranks in 2011, but has never been in contention on the Ladies European Tour, and admitted to being both nervous and excited.  “My game was pretty good, but I got a bit nervous on the last few holes, so I made a few silly mistakes.  I had a lot of really good chances but I was a little tentative with the putting.  I left a lot of them short.  I’m one shot off the lead and that’s not too bad going into the third round.  If you want something badly you get nervous and it’s natural,” the 23-year-old Joburg pro said.  Meanwhile Stacy Bregman slipped from joint third to a tie for 10th at two under 142.

The reigning Zambia Ladies Open champion turned four over after a string of four bogeys, but stemmed the bleeding with eight successive pars before knocking in a birdie putt at the par-four 18th for a 75.  Defending champion Lee-Anne Pace also made the weekend.  The reigning Investec Cup for Ladies champion was in trouble after an opening 75, but rallied with five birdies for a second round 71 to vault 37 places to tie for 32nd on two over 146.

Sunshine Ladies Tour regulars Nicole Garcia, Kim Williams, Bonita Bredenhann from Namibia and Swaziland’s Nobuhle Dlamini were all dismissed by the cut, set at five over 149.

Photo: South Africa’s Connie Chen.
Photo credit: LET / Tristen Jones.