Home hope Hall and American Harigae share halfway lead at Women's Open

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Former champion Georgia Hall shares the halfway lead at the AIG Women's Open at Carnoustie (Tristan Jones/LET)
Former champion Georgia Hall shares the halfway lead at the AIG Women's Open at Carnoustie (Tristan Jones/LET)

By Ben Parsons at Carnoustie

Home hope Georgia Hall is tied for the lead at the AIG Women’s Open following another impressive round at Carnoustie.

The former champion is joined by American Mina Harigae at the top of the leaderboard at the halfway stage.

Links specialist Hall thrives in the tougher conditions but took advantage of another benign morning on the Angus coast with a three-under-par 69.

Hall threatened to set an imposing score before a double bogey on the demanding 15th halted her momentum. But a blitz of six birdies has left the 25-year-old finely poised to compete for a second Women’s Open title this weekend.

"Every Open I want to do the best I can,” Hall said. “This is a fantastic golf course, one of the best in the world. There’s a lot of golf to play yet but I'm happy where I am."

Korean star Si Yeung Kim and American Lizette Salas trail Hall and Marigae by one shot.

US golden girl Lexi Thompson sits two back after a two-under par 70. Her bid for a maiden Women’s Open title is being fuelled by the local expertise of Carnoustie caddie Paul Drummond.

Car salesman by trade, part-time caddie Drummond is on Thompson’s bag this week and is helping the 11-time LPGA tour winner successfully plot her way round the famous links course.

“He knows the golf course like the back of his hand and I fully trust him,” Thompson said about Drummond.

“All of my shots have been very important with his advice because he tells me how it's going to bounce in front of the green and how it's going to roll up and where I should land it. He's been spot on.”

Thompson is joined in a group at five-under by US Open winner Yuka Saso, Ireland’s Leona Maguire, Thai pair Moriya Jutanugarn and Wichanee Meechai, Denmark's Nanna Koertz Madsen and American Yealimi Noh.

World number one Nelly Korda is also right in the mix at four-under, despite following up a near flawless first round 67 with a one-over 73 on Friday.

Korda couldn’t get firing on the front nine but closed brilliantly, with a birdie on 17 sandwiched between pars on the challenging 16th and 18th.

And the Olympic gold medallist knows what she has to work on ahead of the weekend.

“I just wasn’t putting well,” she said. “That’s where I’m dropping. In the afternoon the greens got a little bumpy and unfortunately I was on the wrong sides of those bumps."

Korda wants to temper expectations after a dominant year, but looks well placed to add to her PGA Championship title in Atlanta.

“Everyone keeps talking about how I’m playing so well but I’m going to shoot bad scores,” she added.

“It’s just a little punch of reality that I’m human and I’m going to carry on working hard these next two days and see how it goes.”

Meanwhile, veteran Dame Laura Davies rolled back the years to make the cut with a two-under-par 70 but one player who won’t be at Carnoustie this weekend is England’s Charley Hull.

Hull’s run of four birdies in the final seven holes was in vain as she was left to rue an erratic start on Thursday.

Defending champion Sophia Popov also missed the cut after a double bogey on the last resulted in a disappointing 75.

The leaders are set for a different test on moving day after serene conditions in the opening two rounds, with rain forecast at Carnoustie on Saturday afternoon.

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