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Golf - 16. April 2008.

Naomi Edwards and Liz Bennett challenge in Australian championship

Internationals Naomi Edwards and Liz Bennett are leading the English challenge in the Australian women’s strokeplay championship at Glenelg Golf Club, Adelaide.

Naomi (Ganton) and Liz (Brokenhurst Manor) are well positioned at the halfway stage on three-under par. They are six shots behind the leader, Australia’s Steph Na, while another Australian, Kristie Smith, is lying second on four-under.

Meanwhile, Florentyna Parker (Royal Birkdale) shares 10th place, Rachel Jennings (Izaak Walton) is lying 21st and Kerry Smith (Waterlooville) is 29th. The top 32 players in the 72-hole tournament qualify for the Australian women’s matchplay championship, which follows this event and takes place at Royal Adelaide Golf Club.

Naomi, the English champion, has scored below par in both rounds, despite a shaky start to the tournament. She played the first nine holes in three-over par - but came back in an impressive four-under. In the second round she had another mixture of bogeys and birdies for a two-under 72.

Liz, who will play for GB& I in the forthcoming Curtis Cup match, opened with a level par 74 and followed up with a bogey-free second round. She compiled her three-under 71 score with15 pars and birdies at the 2nd, 6th and 8th holes. "It was a very steady, well thought out round of golf," said England captain Julie Otto.

Staffordshire’s Rachel Jennings - the French junior lady champion and a Curtis Cup reserve - pushed herself up the leaderboard with a level par second round, improving on her opening score by five shots.

The five England internationals - all members of the English Women’s Golf Association Performance Squad - are fresh from an excellent performance against the Australians in an Ashes match. The trip has been designed to give the players experience of courses which will be used the World Amateur Team Championships for the Espirito Santo Trophy at Adelaide in October.

England scores (Par 74):
145 Naomi Edwards 73, 72; Liz Bennett 74, 71.
151 Florentyna Parker 73, 78.
153 Rachel Jennings 79, 74.
155 Kerry Smith 78, 77.

Full details: www.golfaustralia.org.au
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