Caroline Hedwall lists Australia as her favorite country to travel to and on Friday, the Swede fired a 7-under 65 to take the lead at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. The two-time European Solheim Cup Team member carded two eagles including a hole-in-one during Friday’s second-round to take a 1-stroke lead over Suzann Pettersen.
“You guys have great golf courses down here and the people are so relaxed and so welcoming, nice weather,” said Hedwall. “I think everything is great down here. It is absolutely one of my favorite stops.”
Starting the day on the back-nine, the charge up the leaderboard began for Hedwall after a birdie at the par-4 15th moved her to 1-under for the day.
Playing 160-yards, Hedwall took dead aim at the par-3 16th with a soft 7-iron. While she observed the ball hitting the pin, the lull from the crowd left her unaware she had just recorded her fourth hole-in-one.
“Yeah, number 16, yesterday I hit a full 7-iron over the green and it was basically the same yardage today, so I hit a soft one and it covered the pin all the way and then I just saw it bounce once and hit the pin,” said Hedwall. “But I didn't see it go in. I think the crowd up there, they didn't want to yell because Lorie (Kane) or someone was hitting off number 17, so we walked up there and they were like, it went in. I was like, oh, nice LAUG. It wasn't really the feeling when you see it go in, but it's always nice.”
The solid play during Friday’s second round showed no signs of slowing down with back-to-back birdies at the par-5 18th and par-4 first before dropping a shot with a bogey at the par-4 third. Hedwall picked-up her second bogey of the day at the par-4 sixth to drop to 3-under for the day before a birdie at the par-3 seventh returned her to 4-under-par.
Hedwall went on to claim her third eagle of the tournament and second of the day at the par-5 eighth after hitting her second-shot to within 4-feet. Momentum continued to swing Hedwall’s way as she closed out her round in style with a birdie at the par-5 ninth.
While Hedwall’s impressive round moved her into the lead she has Rolex Rankings No. 2 Suzann Pettersen nipping on her heels. In search of her 15th career LPGA Tour victory, Pettersen carded five birdies and one bogey en route to a second-round 4-under 68.
“Today was not the best day, but when I had a good chance I kind of executed,” said Pettersen.”Just not a great day but sticking to the theme, coming down, finishing and coming back to my good feel – it’s very, very close. I’ve got to trust my feels and what I have to do.”