Rookie pro Roussin Bouchard hits the right notes

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Frenchwoman Pauline Bouchard, who turned pro just two weeks ago, shot a 60 to take command at the Skafto Open with a four-shot lead. Photo LET
Frenchwoman Pauline Roussin Bouchard, who turned pro just two weeks ago, shot a 60 to take command at the Skafto Open with a four-shot lead. Photo LET

Pauline Roussin Bouchard leads the way heading into the final day of the Didriksons Skafto Open after a scintillating second round score of 60 in Sweden.

The Frenchwoman, who turned professional just a fortnight ago, hit seven birdies and an eagle on the seventh to shoot nine-under par on the par-69 course, and put herself into pole position ahead of Sunday’s action – leading by four-shots with a score of -10.

Aditi Ashok was tied seventh at -2. Her round of 64 had six birdies and a bogey.

 

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The former World Amateur Golf Rankings number one started off her round with a steady set of pars, before picking up her first shot of the day on the fifth, and an eagle on seven after driving the green.

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But it was on the back nine where she really set the day alight, with six birdies on the way back to the clubhouse, with pars on 10, 12 and 17 the only holes where she didn’t pick up a shot, as she made the perfect start to life as a pro.

 

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“It didn’t change much in my mind turning professional, I just keep doing what I do best and have fun,” Roussin Bouchard said.

“Yesterday I really struggled understanding the wind, especially on the back nine, but with less wind today I learned from yesterday and it worked out much better today.

“I just had fun and this morning I told my mum ‘I just want to do something great today’, and I just had to be patient.”

The 21-year-old knows exactly what it takes to mix it with the best on Tour, having finished runner-up to Annabel Dimmock at the 2019 Jabra Ladies Open after leading by a shot heading into the final day.

And this time she is hoping to go one better as she jousts it out at the top once again on the Swedish West coast, and she is enjoying every second of performing on the highest stage.

“I’m excited, it’s my second tournament as a professional and my second one being in the last group. It would be awesome to win because that’s what I’ve been working for.

“I’m trying to have fun whatever the score, but being with my mum helps as well because I want her to enjoy her time on the bag, and we should enjoy the opportunity to be together.”

Roussin Bouchard’s nearest challenger heading into Sunday is Swedish amateur Ingrid Linblad, who set the running in the early part of the day with a super score of 66 to leaver her six shots under par.

 

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Lindblad, who claimed success in the European Ladies’ Amateur Championship earlier this year, started the day with a bogey on the first, but soon put that behind her to rattle in six birdies in the rest of her round to leave her among the leading pack.

The home favourite picked up shots on the fifth, sixth and seventh holes of both nines to scurry up the leaderboard throughout the day, with her precise short game working its magic around the greens, before finishing her chances off with a strong putting performance.

The roar of the crowd could be heard around the course as the 21-year-old – who was paired with compatriot Pernilla Lindberg and Atthaya Thitikul – rose to the top, and the young star believed that played a part in her Saturday success.

“The atmosphere is great, we had a lot of people walking with us today and that was great,” she said.

“I wasn’t nervous this morning, I felt like I played pretty well yesterday and if I got a few more putts rolling I’d be fine.

“I feel like I got a few more putts rolling today, I still missed a few greens but I still got it up and down. Overall it was a steady round.”

Sitting a further shot back is Magdalena Simmermacher, who continued her good form into Day Two in Skafto, with Friday’s co-leader firing 66 to finish the day on -5.

 

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Similarly to Lindblad, the Argentinean dropped a shot on the first hole of the day, but picked herself back up to birdie the ninth, to finish the front nine in a regulation 37.

And the 2020 Lacoste Ladies Open De France runner-up began to find some form on the greens after the turn, as she rolled in birdie putts on 12,14 and 16 to round off an excellent day on course.

“I had lots of opportunities out there. I didn’t take advantage of it on the front nine but I managed to on the back nine, I feel like my game is in a good position,” the 25-year-old said.

“We did a good job of working out which club we were going to use because it’s very hard to get it on the green in the winds.”

Simmermacher shared the lead with Beatrice Wallin heading into Saturday, and the Swedish amateur continued her good form on the first day of the weekend, as she carded a second successive score of 67 to put her in fourth spot on -4.

Nicole Broch Estrup and Linn Grant find themselves tied for fifth-spot after 36 holes, with the duo shooting 66 and 65 respectively, with the Dane aiming to finish strongly on the final day.

“It’s been a while since I’ve been at the top, I want to put myself back in these positions and get used to them again,” Estrup said.

“I’ve struggled when I’ve been near the top recently, I get nervous and start shaking. Even today I got nervous but I’m just trying to deal with it.”

2017 Ping Junior Solheim Cup star Grant was keen to make the most of playing in front of a home crowd in Skafto, with the following from her compatriots a welcome addition to the weekend.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve played in front of a crowd like this, it’s nice to hear the applause and just have people around watching,” Grant said.

“I’m proud of myself. It was not as windy as yesterday but still windy out there, I still feel like I have a couple of shots to gain tomorrow though.

“Today was much more fun, there was space to hit some good shots and get close to the pin.”

Fellow Swedes Pernilla Lindberg and Linda Wessberg are tied for seventh with 18 holes left to play alongside Aditi on -2, while the top three in the Race to Costa del Sol all sit locked in a five-way tie for tenth on -1.

 

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Atthaya Thitikul, Sanna Nuutinen and Steph Kyriacou are all one shot below-par after two rounds, with Whitney Hillier and Lydia Hall also completing two rounds in 137 shots.

There will be a total of 64 players competing in the final round on Sunday, with the cut falling at +7.

LET

Also Read: Aditi lurks as amatuer Wallin steals the thunder