A fine start and a gutsy windup saved what could’ve been another disastrous stint for Dottie Ardina, who banked on her solid putting to salvage a 73 and barely make the cut in the British Women’s Open in Scotland Friday.
Swede Dani Holmqvist fired a 70 in another punishing day at Royal Troon when howling winds and rain mixed to make the conditions rougher and tougher, turning the second round of the $4.5 million event into a virtual survival of the fittest.
No player could best typify the day-long struggle on the links course made more daunting by its unreceptive surface than American Amy Olson, impressive with a lead-grabbing 67 Thursday but flopped with a birdie-less 81 to tumble to joint 33rd at 148.
She safely made the cut pegged at 151, the output put in by the ICTSI-backed Ardina, who fought back from a wobbly opening 78 with a two-over card to advance to a second major championship after finishing tied at 62nd in last year’s US Open. She missed the cut in the PGA Championship, also last year.
Holmqvist pooled a 141 to seize control but a slew of aces stood just a stroke or two behind although those five or six strokes adrift still had a shot at the championship given the fickle, windy conditions expected in the last 36 holes of LPGA Tour's first major.
Austin Ernst of the US shot a 70 to tie Germany’s Sophia Popov, who carded a 72, at 142 while Aussie Minjee Lee and Kiwi Lydia Ko, both former world No. 1, fired 69 and 71, respectively, to lead the 143 scorers, who included Danish Emily Pedersen, American Lindsey Weaver and Thai Jasmine Suwannapura, who all shot 72s.
From joint 107th, Ardina worked her way back despite a late start, birdying the opening hole for the second straight day then gaining another stroke on No. 3 to join a slew of players scrambling their way for spots in the last two rounds at joint 40th.
But as the pressure mounted in severe conditions, the Canlubang pro wilted, dropping two strokes on the par-4 No. 9 and yielding three bogeys against a birdie in a four-hole stretch from No. 12 to drift along the cutoff line.
But she came through with par saves on solid putting in the last three holes to save a 37 and a 73 for joint 64th with 10 others, including world No. 5 Nasa Hataoka of Japan (77).
Japanese Haru Nomura put in a 70 to join world No. 4 Nelly Korda of the US, who fired a second 72, at 144, just three off the pace.
Danielle Kang of the US, coming off a sweep of the LPGA Ohio events, hardly improved with a 74 after a 76 for joint 52nd at 150 in the company of Thai ace Moriya Jutanugarn (73) and Korean Jenny Shin (73) and England’s Bronte Law (70).
Missing just three fairways and going two-for-two off the bunkers, Ardina spiked her round with 24 putts that made up for her struggle to hit regulation that saw her miss 11 greens.
A number of fancied names also missed the weekend play, including Celine Boutier of France (71-152), Canadian Brooke Henderson (75-152), Americans Lexi Thompson (75-153) and Stacey Lewis (77-153), legend Laura Davies of England Laura Davies (74-154), Swede Madelene Sagstrom (76-154), Cristie Kerr of the US (77-155) and Mexico’s driving leader Maria Fassi (82-157).
But none proved more noteworthy than Japanese Hinako Shibuno, who completed a Cinderella finish in last year's Open in England but failed to put it all together in the first two rounds with 76 and 78 and wound up tied at 105th.