As Norwegian Suzann Pettersen set a target no one could match on the second round of the Women’s British Open, Australian great Karrie Webb battled to make the cut after a disastrous opening round.
But teenage countrywoman Minjee Lee fared far better, ending up tied in 7th having shot 72 to Pettersen’s 69 on a day of horrendous weather at Turnberry.
With wind and rain making it miserable for players and fans, the 33-year-old Norwegian managed to carve four birdies out of her round and finished on an impressive seven under par 137.
New Zealander Lydia Ko (73), the world No.2, Ryu So Yeon (72), the 2011 US Women’s Open champion and Taiwan’s Teresa Lu (71) were two shots back in joint second.
Webb shot 75 on Friday to tie on 116th.
The 40-year-old Queenslander, who has won the event three times including at Turnberry in 2002, climbed the board after her disastrous start in the opening round put her second last.
On that round she had a quadruple bogey, two double bogeys and three bogeys along with three birdies in an eight-over-par 80 in the fourth women’s major of the year.
Of the four other Australian women in the Open, Stacey Keating shot a 76, Rebecca Artis had 82, Su-Hyun Oh 72, with no score available for Sarah Kemp.
Pettersen, a two-time major winner, feels invigorated this season following a switch in coach from David Leadbetter to Butch Harmon, the Las Vegas guru who steered Tiger Woods through his hugely successful early years as a professional.
“It was really tough out there today but I played very solid,” said Pettersen.
“I felt I was in control of everything. This ranks pretty high as a good round of golf.
“I always felt I had a different gear in my body and going to Butch was the right thing. He has made technical changes and it is just much easier. I don’t feel like the swing thoughts change from day to day.
“It’s very consistent. It’s nice to have somebody that can really push me. Butch has pushed me quite a lot and I feel that some of my best golf is still ahead of me.
“I thought it would be good to play through (next year’s) Olympics, but I now have a lot of more goals. I want to be the best that I can be.”
Last week, Pettersen finished runner-up in the Scottish Open at the nearby Dundonald Links and she is seeking to go one better on Sunday.
Pettersen’s first major was the 2007 LPGA Championship and she added the Evian Championship two years ago.
She’s got a decent record in the British Open with top five finishes in the last two years.
Ko, who opened with a 66, was mightily impressed by Pettersen’s effort.
“Today was like playing a different course,” said the teenager.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be another 66 but a day for grinding it out. We were tried to hide behind the signs for shelter. Suzann must have played great.”
The first round leader, Korea’s Kim Hyo Joo followed her 65 with a 78 for one under par.
World number one Park Inbee wasn’t too delighted with a 73, but the South Korean is still well in the hunt on two under par.
Michelle Wie was heading for the exit after failing to get past the 13th hole.
At ten over par for the round and 14 over for the tournament, last year’s US Open champion retired with an ankle injury.
Last year’s victor Mo Martin also missed out.
After a promising opening 70, the American slumped to a second day 80.