reports from Chart Hills
Everything is happening for the Belgian, Florence Descampe, at the moment and she added another chapter when a course-record 67 swept her into the half-way lead in the Ford Classic here yesterday. It left Descampe, who lost her Solheim Cup place last year, at eight under par on 136 leading by two shots from Britain's Lora Fairclough and Susan Hodge.
Descampe, who is getting married in three weeks' time, has struggled with her putting all year in America. But this week she was re-united with her British caddie, Mark Fulcher. "He told me to hold my hands higher and it is two years since I made so many putts," she explained after her round.
Fulcher has shouldered Descampe's clubs when she won five of her seven tournament victories and the Belgian is now hoping that her silken putting touch lasts for two more days. Yesterday at this new Kent course Descampe's putter paved the way to an impressive haul of nine birdies, in a round which contained two penalty strokes when she dropped from water hazards at the fourth and 13th holes.
For a time Hodge was making a brave attempt to catch Descampe. An outward half of 32 brought her level at eight-under but she found water at the 17th, then took three putts to drop another shot at the last hole.
Fairclough had also taken up the chase. Starting with three birdies she was out in 31, drew level with a two at the short 11th but dropped late shots at the 15th and 17th holes.
An expected charge from Laura Davies failed to materialise when she added another 73 to finish on 146, which leaves her 10 strokes off the lead.
FORD CLASSIC (Chart Hills, Kent) Leading second round scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 136 F Descampe (Bel) 69 67. 138 S Hodge 68 70; L Fairclough 70 68. 140 C Hjalmarsson (Swe) 71 69; K Webb (Aus) 70 70. 141 T Loveys 68 73; D Barnard 71 70. 142 E Orley (Swit) 72 70; S Prosser 72 70; E Knuth (Sp) 69 73; T Johnson 71 71; S Waugh (Aus) 74 68. 143 L Hackney 75 68; S Moon (US) 75 68; M Koch (Ger) 72 71. 144 J Forbes 74 70; C Hall 72 72; L Lambert (Aus) 72 72; S Bennett 72 72; W Doolan (Aus) 70 74; A Brighouse 76 68; K Davies 72 72. 145 L Navarro (Sp) 72 73; D Reid 72 73; K Orum (Den) 71 74; J Arnold (NZ) 74 71; K Espinasse (Fr) 73 72; P Rigby (Swe) 73 72; J Soulsby 74 71; P Rizzo (US) 76 69; P Meunier (Fr) 76 69; M-L de Lorenzi (Fr) 71 74. 146 L Tadiotto (Bel) 73 73; N Moult 72 74; K Pearce (Aus) 76 70; S Gronberg 76 70; L Davies 73 73; H Wadsworth 75 71; D Eckroth (US) 71 75.