Birdie blitz fires rookie Morgan up leaderboard

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The Independent Online

The local favourite Becky Morgan jumped into the hunt for the WPGA Championship of Europe with a great second round six-under-par 67 here yesterday.

The 26-year-old Welsh rookie had a flawless six birdie round to move into fourth place on six-under-par 140, just three shots behind the leader, Helen Alfredsson.

Sweden's Alfredsson, the winner four years ago, added 70 to her opening 67 and finished one ahead of Norway's Suzann Pettersen and two in front of France's Karine Icher. Pettersen, a 20-year-old rookie who won the French Open last month, had a 68, while Icher, 22, had a 69.

But it was 26-year-old Morgan, who lost to Pettersen in a play-off for the French Open, who served up the best entertainment for her local crowd.

Originally from nearby Abergavenny, Morgan, a member of last year's Curtis Cup team, tamed the tough links lay-out with a mixture of great approach play and a hot putter.

"I would love to do well in front of so many family and friends, but I'm just trying not to put too much pressure on myself," said the player who also plays on the American LPGA Tour.

Alfredsson highlighted her round with an eagle – drive, eight iron and putt from 15 feet – at the 455 yard eighth, but was disappointed that she failed to make birdies at any of the three par fives on the back nine. Laura Davies, the winner when the title was last contested two years ago, had a 76, and just made the cut without a shot to spare.

* Great Britain and Ireland trail the Continent of Europe 7-5 in the Vagliano Trophy match in Venice. This means they require seven-and-a-half points from 12 today to regain the trophy they last won in 1993.

They had produced a remarkable all round recovery to take the foursomes 3-1 after not being in front in any of the matches with just five holes to play, but in the afternoon it was a very different story as Emma Duggleby, Fiona Brown, Becky Brewerton, Kim Andrew, Kerry Smith and Rebecca Hudson all lost.

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