Golf: Davies equal to task on route 66

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The Independent Online
LAURA DAVIES extended her overnight lead with another remarkable round of 66 in the BMW Italian Open at the Frassanelle club here yesterday.

Davies, twice winner of the title, leads by four strokes from the defending champion, Australia's Corinne Dibnah, another former British Open winner. Lancashire's Lora Fairclough, the former English girls champion, is in third place, with South Africa's Laurette Maritz two strokes further behind.

In her last five tournament rounds Davies has handed in cards of 68, 64, 67, 66, and 66. 'I have never played so well and I am genuinely shocked,' she said after holing her longest putt of the day from 20 feet for a birdie at the last hole.

Davies equalled the tour record she shares with Marie-Laure de Lorenzi with her total of 132. She is now a remarkable 80 under par for the 29 rounds she has played in Europe this year.

In these hard times Davies is surely one of the few who can bring a smile to the face of their bank manager. Already this year her tournament earnings have reached pounds 113,000, and a pounds 16,500 winner's cheque this weekend seems destined for her possession.

From the moment when she hit a stunning three-wood second shot to the green at the 524-yard second hole, Davies was always in control. This was the first of seven birdies. Her only bogey was at the 12th, where she failed to get up and down from the edge of the green.

Dibnah, who played alongside Davies, birdied three of her last four holes for a 67. 'Laura is on such a high that I am just happy to keep her in my sights,' she said. 'It is also nice to be running into form with the British Open next week.'

Fairclough recovered well after a couple of sixes in her first six holes. Two birdies in succession, at the seventh and eighth, gave her the confidence to compile a homeward 33, which she completed with a putt of 30 feet for a birdie at the final hole.

BMW WOMEN'S ITALIAN OPEN (Padua): Leading second-round scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 132 L Davies 66 66. 136 C Dibnah (Aus) 69 67. 138 L Fairclough 70 68; L Maritz (SA) 68 70. 139 V Michaud (Fr) 69 70; L-A Mills (US) 70 69. 140 X Wunsch (Sp) 71 69; D Dowling 69 71; J Hill (Zim) 67 73. 141 M Lunn (Aus) 71 70; Li Wen-Lin (Taiwan) 72 69. 142 A Shapcott 72 70; C Hjalmarsson (Swe) 70 72; S Gronberg (Swe) 71 71. 143 L Hackney 71 72; K Espinasse (Fr) 68 75. 144 D Reid 72 72; C Soules (Fr) 72 72; S Mendiburu (Fr) 74 70; H Dobson 70 74; A Jones (Aus) 73 71. Selected GB: 145 A Nicholas 75 70; S Strudwick 74 71; S Nicklin 71 74; D Barnard 75 70; K Douglas 72 73; J Forbes 74 71. 147 S Prosser 76 71; S Robinson 75 72; H Wadsworth 73 74; P Wright 78 69. 148 S Elliott 71 77; B New 73 75. 149 E Smith 72 77; S Duhig 73 76. 150 J Brown 75 75; C Duffy 75 75. 151 E Farquharson 77 74; C Panton-Lewis 77 74; G Stewart 75 76.

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