sport

Kemp three clear as Hull slips

Sarah Kemp opened up a three-shot lead at the halfway stage of the ISPS Handa Ladies European Masters as Charley Hull suffered a poor finish to her second round.

Australian Kemp added a four-under 68 to her opening 67 and has dropped only one shot in 36 holes as she topped the leaderboard on nine under par at The Buckinghamshire.

But star-attraction Charley Hull slipped nine strokes off the pace after dropping three shots on the final two holes to close on level par.

The 18-year-old Solheim Cup star had recovered from a double-bogey at the third with birdies at the eighth and ninth, and she picked up another at 14 to get under the card for the day.

But she bogeyed the 17th and then found bunker trouble at the par-three last hole and ran up a double-bogey five.

"I played really well today and hit the ball really well," Hull told the Ladies European Tour website afterwards.

"I didn't do much wrong on the last. I hit a good iron shot which bounced on the green into the bunker. It was a tough bunker shot and I couldn't hole it. I hit a good drive on 17 as well. I'm hitting it well, it's just the wind got up."

But Kemp got to grips with the hot and blustery conditions as she compiled an impressive five-birdie round, blotting her card only once at the 16th before getting the shot straight back at the next.

"It was nice and solid, nothing too crazy and I birdied the two par fives, 10 and 14," said Kemp, who is still searching for her first win in six seasons on the Ladies European Tour.

"This is great. I haven't been in this position too many times and this is where I want to be, somewhere in contention.

"I thought the wind was going to be up a bit more but it's not really and not as strong as yesterday. There is definitely a bit of wind, but I'm happy with the score."

Kemp leads by three from overnight joint-leader Celine Herbin and Welsh rookie Amy Boulden, who was a late addition to the field on Thursday morning after starting the week as first reserve.

Boulden has returned two confident rounds of 69, and she said: "I got in on Thursday at 10am after someone pulled out with a bad eye so it's great to play.

"I'm liking the course; it's in great condition. I'm in a good position but I three putted the last which was a bit disappointing."

World No 1 amateur Minjee Lee is among a group of five players a further shot back after she returned a 68, while seven-time major winner and defending champion Karrie Webb is in touch with the leaders on one under.

Cheyenne Woods had looked likely to challenge Kemp for the lead as she reached five under with her third birdie of the round at the first - her 10th.

But Tiger's niece then ran up an ugly quadruple-bogey nine at the second, bogeyed the next and dropped a further two shots at the fourth before closing out a disappointing 75 to end the day on one over.