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Golf - 17. January 2012.

Jodi Ewart takes narrow lead at Q-School



England's Jodi Ewart fired a four under par 67 on the North Course at La
Manga Club in Spain on Monday to take a one stroke lead after the second
round of Final Qualifying School for the 2012 Ladies European Tour
season.

The 24-year-old from Middleham in North Yorkshire mixed six birdies with
two bogeys for a seven under par 36-hole total of 137.

The former Great Britain and Ireland Curtis Cup player is now poised to
achieve a dream double after earning her LPGA Tour card in December.

She ended the day a stroke ahead of three other players. French amateur
Alexandra Vilatte, the first round co-leader Sharmila Nicollet of India
and Heather Bowie-Young of the United States were all on six under par.

Spain's Carlota Ciganda and Marjet Van der Graff from the Netherlands
finished a stroke further behind in a share of fifth place, followed by
Scotland's Clare Queen and Thailand's Piyathida Ployumsri on four under
par.

Ewart said: "I hit 16 greens and had 30 putts so it was just really
steady and I birdied my last two holes so that helped a lot. I felt like
I left a couple of shots out there so that's always good when you shoot
four under. Everything is really steady and I'm just taking it one shot
at a time."

Living in Sarasota, Florida, where she trains at the IMG Academy in
Bradenton, Ewart is used to playing in sunny weather, but she was
prepared for the heavy rain and strong winds which were predicted for
the second round. She and the rest of the field of competitors were
pleasantly surprised to find blue skies and a light breeze by mid
morning.

"The weather charts said an 80 per cent chance of rain but it was nice
all day. There was not too much wind so it was perfect really," said
Ewart, who spent four years studying psychology at the University of New
Mexico.

Overnight co-leader Nicollet held her nerve to post a one under par 70
on the North Course. The 20-year-old from south of Bangalore mixed five
birdies with four bogeys to remain well within the top 30 places
eligible for a full tour card after five rounds.

"My recoveries were good today and my driving was good compared to
yesterday, so the goal for the week is to finish under par in total and
every day, so that is the mentality for the week," said Nicollet. "The
course is playing short for me; distance is my strength so most of the
time I have a 52 degree in and I can reach the par fives in two. I think
this is my strength over the other players so the target is to go low."

Vilatte, a 29-year-old amateur from Paris, led the European ranking in
2005 and she has spent the last six years studying to become a
pharmacist.

On her second round of four under par 69 on the South Course, containing
six birdies and two birdies, she said: "The best part of my game was my
irons but my driving was good too. My wedges were very good too and on
the par fives that was great."

Bowie Young, 36, a full-time member of the LPGA who represented the
United States at The 2003 Solheim Cup is hoping to give herself more
playing options by joining the Ladies European Tour and her second round
of five under par 68 on the South Course put her in the ideal position.


Marjet Van der Graaff from the Netherlands is playing to retain her
playing rights after four years on tour, while Queen is also trying to
keep her card having played on tour for six seasons.

The 90-hole Final Qualifying School is being played with 36 holes on
each of La Manga Club's North and South courses for the first four
rounds with a cut to the leading 50 players and ties after 72 holes. The
fifth round will be played on the South Course on Thursday and the top
30 players will earn LET Membership in category 8a.
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