English Girls’ Championship – Day Two: Birthday bonus for high-flying Lee

Olivia Lee was all smiles after marking her birthday by soaring into joint top spot at the English Girls’ Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship.

The Gerrards Cross golfer equalled the best score of the day – a two under par round of 70 – to join Scotland’s Grace Crawford on top of the leaderboard.

Crawford followed an opening round of 70 with a 74 to maintain her place at the head of the field.

It promises to be a thrilling final day’s play at Malton and Norton Golf Club on Thursday – with a further 36 holes deciding the champion.

After receiving an ideal 17th birthday gift in the shape of an impressive sub-par round, Lee said: “It was a great day and great weather and a good round altogether – especially on my birthday.

“Cherry on top, really!

“I was really happy I played steadily and stuck to my plan and hit as many greens as I could and a few more putts dropped. All good.”

Once again the heat was a factor to be contended with, but Lee was able to cope as she chased down a good score.

“The sun was out at points and it was hot, but I drunk a lot of water and stayed as cool as I could,” added Lee who fired four birdies and just two bogeys in her round.

“I’ll stick to my game plan again, let the birdies happen and try not to push for anything and try to be at the top by the end of tomorrow.”

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While Lee and Crawford led the field at the halfway stage on level par, there are plenty of others nestled in behind them and ready to pounce.

The top 12 players are separated by just five shots.

Scotland’s Rachel Foster is tied alongside England girls’ squad player Patience Rhodes in third place.

Woodhall Spa’s Tilly Garfoot is also handily placed in fifth spot and a shot clear of Buckinghamhire’s Rosie Bee Kim

Defending champion Davina Xanh is alongside Ciara Egan and Maggie Whitehead on +4.

Rachel Gourley, Sophia Fullbrook and Imogen Williamson are one behind that trio on five over the card.

It wasn’t just birthday girl Lee who had a day to remember.

There was a special moment too for Chewon Cho who aced the par 3, 13th hole for the first hole-in-one of her career.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite enough to help the Cuddington golfer make the cut which fell at +11 with 40 players back for two rounds on Thursday.


Photography: Leaderboard