The China Post staff
Spain’s Raquel Carriedo remains on course for her first professional victory after posting a flawless five under par 67 today and holds a four shot lead over Anna Berg of Sweden going into the final round of the £100,000 Taiwan Ladies Open. Carriedo, two up after the first day, extended her lead with five birdies over the challenging Ta Shee layout and tops the leader board on eight under par 136, while Berg fired a 66 and lies a shot clear of France’s Patricia Meunier Lebouc in third. “I was knocking it close all day and hit every green apart from the 16th,” said Carriedo, who was tied for 11th in last week’s AAMI Women’s Australian Open. “My golf was conservative today. I was using a three wood or less off most of the tees, just keeping the ball straight and giving myself a good chance to place the ball on these tricky greens. “If you can get your ball close then it takes a lot of the impact out these greens. I had two bogeys in the first round and none today, so I’m very pleased.
“The course isn’t too long but everyone knows how undulating and grainy the greens are, so you’ve can’t leave yourself too many long putts.” Carriedo has been one of the most consistent players on the Evian Tour for the past two seasons, and it was this consistency that enabled her last year to become the first Spaniard to qualify for the European Solheim Cup team. But the 29-year-old from Zaragoza has yet to prove she has the winning touch. She has finished in top three on no fewer than eight occasions over the past two seasons, including three runner-up spots last year, and will be keen to break her professional duck in the final round. “I played safe today and I’ll do the same tomorrow,” added the Spaniard, who had a four under par back nine. “I had good course management today and I’ll be aiming for more of the same. It’s vital to put your ball in the correct spot.” Berg’s career has been blighted by a serious knee ligament injury for the past two seasons, but she is confident that an operation over the winter, her fifth on the same knee, is starting to pay dividends. “There was too much movement in my right knee on my backswing and hopefully this last operation has solved that,” said Berg after showing off her battle-scarred joint. “It happened years ago playing handball. I’ve had five operations now on my right cruciate ligament and it feels much stronger.” Berg’s 66 is the lowest of the tournament to-date and included seven birdies and a solitary bogey at the 16th, one of only two greens that she missed all day. “I’ve also made quite a few changes to my swing in the past year. I used to have a big draw, which helped me shoot some low scores but was not very consistent. I’ve been trying to straighten that, and it seems to be working. “Before Australia I spent three weeks in Hua Hin, in Thailand, with my boyfriend Henning (Lundstrom) and Marie Hedberg. We practiced every day.
“Henning’s not my coach but he’s a teaching pro so it was nice to be able to discuss the changes with him. My driving has been much steadier since the end of last year.” Carriedo lost a head to head with Meunier Lebouc in last year’s Ladies French Open, and she will be drawn with her Solheim Cup teammate again in the final round. The Parisian also posted a 67, though her card included seven birdies and a pair of bogeys over the 6,292-yard course on the outskirts of Taipei. “I putted with much more confidence today, I think the morning conditions helped,” said Meunier Lebouc, winner of last season’s Ladies French and Austrian Opens. “The grass gets longer on the greens in the afternoon and therefore there is more grain to deal with. Yesterday I had three three-putts, but only one today. “It will be fun playing against Raquel again. I’m five behind, but who knows, anything can happen in the final round.
“I will have to fight from beginning to end. On this course you have to be careful where to attack, when to use the driver. “But I’m happy with my form so far. I wasn’t feeling too well in Australia but I still managed top-10 finishes in both events. I started a new fitness regime over the winter and I think this helped to carry me through.” The 28-year-old, originally from Dijon but now living in Paris, followed her joint 10th placing in the ANZ Ladies Masters with a joint eighth spot last week in the AAMI Women’s Australian Open in Melbourne. Taiwan’s Yu Cheng Huang leads the local challenge after firing a two under par 70 and shares fourth spot at two under par with Elisabeth Esterl of Germany, who also posted 70.