• Sarah Jane Smith maintains lead at Victorian Open

Queensland’s Sarah Jane Smith has maintained her spot at the top of the leaderboard at the halfway point of the Women’s Victorian Open being played at 13th Beach Golf Links in Barwon Heads.

Smith followed her opening round of nine-under-par with a one-under-par 73 to be at 10-under-par and one clear of the rest of the field. Local professional and two time winner on the Ladies European Tour in 2012, Stacey Keating, made a move up into outright second with a fine five-under-par 68.

Swede Sophie Gustafson (70), Victorian amateur Grace Lennon (71) and the Western Australians pair of Jessica Speechley (70) and Kristie Smith (74) share third position at eight-under-par. Americans Lacey Agnew (69) and Heather Bowie Young (71) and New South Wales Sarah Kemp (71) round out the top 10 a further shot back.

Lurking at six-under-par are some big names including England`s Laura Davies, ACT’s Nikki Campbell and France’s Anne-Lise Caudal.

Playing on the Creek course for the second straight day, the Sunshine Coast golfer posted an eagle, two birdies and three bogeys. She was happy with shooting one under, “I didn’t have the best day but got away with one-under, so that is OK.” Smith said.

Smith is playing for the sixth straight week and admitted that she hasn’t seen the Beach course, which the women will play the final two rounds on. Her husband and caddie, Duane, has been out walking the course and trusts his work, “We have worked together for a long time, I trust him to tell me where to go.”

Keating is right where she wanted to be, “My aim is to be there somewhere on the weekend, so I think I’ve done that. To be contending is always a lot more fun.” Keating commented after her round.

Her local knowledge of the Beach Course is certainly an advantage but the local says if the winds gets up it will be tough for everyone.

The crowds over the first two days have been great and organisers are expecting even more people over the weekend, when they can watch both the women and men playing on the same course.

The cut was made at five-over-par and 63 players will contest the final two rounds for their share of the $150,000 prizemoney on offer.

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