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Friday, July 25, 2008

Mhairi McKay beats Evian Masters
cut but Catriona Matthew is out

Sweden’s Helen Alfredsson shot a course record nine-under-par 63 on Day 2 of the Evian Masters in France to lie in second place going into the weekend at Evian-les-Bains.
Last year’s European Solheim Cup captain, Alfredsson birdied half of the holes on the Evian Masters golf course with four on the front nine and five on the back to finish the day on nine-under-par 135, one stroke behind second round leader Angela Park of Brazil.
Last year’s LPGA Rookie of the Year, Park shot 68 for a ten-under-total of 134. A further five players were a shot further back in a share of third including the 2007 U.S. Women’s Open champion Cristie Kerr from the United States and her compatriot Juli Inkster, the 2003 Evian Masters champion.
Alfredsson, 43, who has 19 worldwide victories to her name, including the 1994 and 1998 Evian Masters, bettered the previous tournament record by a stroke. “It’s fantastic for me and as everybody knows this is my favourite stop. To be able to have a course record here feels unbelievable,” she said.
Alfredsson birdied holes 1, 4, 6, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15 and 18. She added: “I was lucky to make a good par putt on 12 which kept the momentum going.”
The 19-year Tour veteran is experiencing something of a career revival this years as she demonstrated by finishing second in last month’s U.S. Women’s Open at Interlachen Country Club. She put it down to feeling healthy after 15 years of injuries. “I don’t think I’ve been healthy for 15 years. According to the doctors, I had my hamstring detached for 11 years. Looking back and the way my right arm feels, I must have had the other one for six or seven years.”
After taking most of last season off for health reasons, Alfredsson worked out hard over the winter and is finding more consistency on the golf course. “The last few years, every day has been different. It’s hard to get any confidence when every day feels totally different,” she said. “It’s fun when the practise pays off and you see some results.”
World No.1 Lorena Ochoa of Mexico, who led by a stroke on seven-under after the first round, shot 73 to lie in a share of eighth on six-under at the halfway stage of the tournament. “It was a disaster,” she said. “I missed second shots, I missed drivers and I missed putts. Hopefully I can go practise now and be ready for tomorrow. I’m very positive and I also think that I can do it.” She brushed off the suggestion that playing in the annual charity football match the night before had hampered her game. “I only played for 15 minutes,” she said.
Defending champion Natalie Gulbis was still in the hunt after a 71 left her six shots off the lead in a share of 16th place with six others, including the World No.2 Annika Sorenstam and her compatriot Linda Wessberg.
After Alfredsson, Sorenstam and Wessberg were the best placed of the European Tour contingent, followed by South Korean teenager Amy Yang and Norway’s Suzann Pettersen, who were tied for 23rd place with four other players.
Europeans who also made the cut included Maria Hjorth, Minea Blomqvist, Sophie Gustafson, Catrin Nilsmark, Karine Icher, Rebecca Hudson, Becky Brewerton, Trish Johnson, Mhairi McKay (pictured above), Martina Eberl, Carin Koch, Emma Zackrisson, Sophie Giquel and Laura Davies.
Catriona Matthew was one of those who missed the cut.