Lottie Woad finished her second round in dramatic fashion by draining an eagle putt on the 18th hole to take a one-shot lead into the final day of the English Under 18 Championship.
Around her home track of Farnham Golf Club, the 17-year-old carded a second consecutive round of 68 to move to eight under par for the championship.
Walsall’s Jenson Forrester emerged from the chasing pack with a best-of-the-day round of 66 to follow an opening round of 71 and move onto seven under par.
Zach Little is two shots further back on five under par after a second round 68 while Burhill’s Elliot MacGregor and Maggie Whitehead from Close House are locked together on four under par.
The ground-breaking junior event – featuring 66 boys and 66 girls – is shaping up for a dramatic final day with 36 holes of stroke play deciding who claims the silverware.
Spurred on by the support of her fellow members, local favourite Woad reached the turn in four-under par.
A triple bogey seven at 12 could have derailed her round. However, a birdie at 16 and then a 20-footer at the last allowed her to maintain a slender advantage.
“Overall I’m happy,” admitted Woad.
“I was four under through nine and then tripled 12. That wasn’t great, but I came back well to eagle the last.
“It was one bad shot in the round.
“On 18, I was trying to lag it up from 20 feet but it went in and I’ll take it.
“I’m playing quite solid and have had minimum mistakes in the whole tournament.
“I’m just looking to carry it on for the next day.
“Playing 36 holes in a day is fun and I’m looking forward to it.”.
In the warm Surrey sunshine the standard of golf on display from the competitors was of the highest standard and streamed to a wider audience on England Golf’s YouTube channel by Content Live.
Forrester (pictured above) has come up on the rails to head into the final two rounds in good shape and is just hoping that his putter remains hot.
“I just putted really well. Putting normally lets me down but it was the best I’ve putted all season,” he confirmed.
“Every time I stepped over a putt I fancied it. It’s a good feeling.”
Little (pictured above) remains a real threat to the top two following an excellent four-under par round of 68.
With five birdies and just one bogey in his round, the West Herts golfer is now in great shape ahead of the 36-hole Sunday shootout.
Eliiot MacGregor was up at dawn to take his slot in the first tee time at 7.30 am.
The early alarm call didn’t appear to trouble him as he opened with an eagle three and bookended his round with another at the 18th.
Whitehead had reason to celebrate her second round – it was the first time the talented 15-year-old had broken 70 in a competitive round.
“I’m over the moon,” she said. I’ve never shot in the 60s before which is quite shocking! To be tied fourth makes it even better.”
A shot further back, but still very much in contention going into a tough final day, is a cluster of talented players including two England internationals.
Ben Loveard has quietly gone about his business, but the boys’ squad member is lurking with intent on three under par.
The youngster from Woburn followed an opening round of 72 with a 69 to move stealthily through the pack.
His scorecard was helped by three birdies in the closing five holes and on that form, he will be a danger to the leaders.
Another of his England team-mates, Jack Bigham, endured a rollercoaster day.
The Harpenden golfer was nursing a niggle in his back and was three over for his round standing on the 11th tee.
But he showed real character by making birdies on the 12th, 14th and 16th to card a level par round and head into the final day in that group of players on three under par.
The cut line came at +5 with 44 players making it through to the final day’s action.
Photography credit: Leaderboard