NSW state player Annika Rathbone pulled away from the field on day two of the Bowra & O’Dea Women’s Classic, leaving herself with one hand on the trophy with 18 holes to play.
Rathbone (pictured above) carded a best-of-the-day 68 (five under par) on Tuesday to move three strokes clear of Caitlin Peirce (SA), with whom she had shared the 36-hole lead at -2. Peirce’s two-under 71 allowed her to stay in touch – in no small measure thanks to an eagle three on the par-five 17th.
The third overnight leader, NSW’s Yerin Kim, fell away with a 79, leaving it looking like a shootout between Rathbone and Peirce to decide the title on Wednesday.
Best of the western contingent is Celine Chen, who produced more rock-steady golf on her way to a one-over 74. Joondalup CC’s Chen sits in outright third but, at nine strokes off the lead, may well have too much to do to have a realistic shot at glory tomorrow.
Chen’s fellow WA state players Erina Tan and Amanda Gan (both Mount Lawley) lie a further shot back in a share of fourth with Queenslander Hannah Reeves.
On another glorious winter’s day at The Western Australian Golf Club, Rathbone’s scintillating round got off to an ideal start as she drove the green on the short par-four 1st and two putted for birdie.
Although she handed that shot back at the next, two steely par putts on the 3rd and 4th holes kept Rathbone on the rails before birdies on 6, 8 and 9 put her in the driving seat. Two more birdies on her back nine added further gloss to a superb day’s play.
Rathbone’s achievements are all the more remarkable given that she didn’t fly into Perth until Sunday evening, and only got her first look at the course when she teed it up on day one.
The 20-year-old was understandably delighted with her round, telling GolfWA: “I stuck to my game plan today and made some great putts. The greens here are very quick, so I’ll be looking to keep it below the hole tomorrow. I think if I shoot three under, I should be sweet!”
Running concurrently with the 72-Hole Women’s Classic are 54-Hole Mid-Am and Senior competitions. With one round to play, Young Ju Kennedy (WAGC) leads the Mid-Am by a single stroke, while clubmate Jane Walton is also one clear in the Seniors.