Inkster improves

Juli Inkster enjoys her second round at the Women's British Open.

    Inkster failed to become the oldest winner of a Tour
    event after missing chances in the Evian Masters [AP]
    Tour veteran Juli Inkster moved into contention for the only major she hasn't won with a 5-under 68 in the second round of the Women's British Open at the Old Course.

    The American, who has been on the LPGA Tour since 1978 and is chasing her eighth major, improved 11 strokes on her first round score on a strong second day.

    Her highlight came on the fifth when she reached the green at the 514-yard, par-5 fifth in two for an eagle putt.

    She made birdies at the first, sixth, ninth and 10th holes to get back to even par overall.

    But her momentum slowed towards the end as the birdies stopped and she dropped a stroke over the last eight holes to finish on 1-over 147.

    Only tournament leader Lorena Ochoa's first-round 67 has bettered Inkster's score.

    "It is just a different golf course out there today," Inkster said.

    "I'm kind of hoping we get a little wind out there this afternoon so they can experience the wind.

    "You can drive it anywhere and be conservative, but in order to make some birdies you have to drive it in the right spot, and today I did that."

    Oldest winner

    The 47-year-old Inkster squandered a chance to become the oldest winner of an LPGA Tour event last week when she led the Evian Masters in France by two after three rounds.

    She then promptly collapsed with three bogeys in the last five holes to finish in a tie for third behind winner Natalie Gulbis.

    Defending champion Sherri Steinhauer, who has won this event three times, improved to 3 under after a 71 gave her a halfway score of 143.

    "It was very calm on the outward holes and not very difficult," Steinhauer said, who picked up two shots on the outward nine, including a 50-foot birdie putt at the sixth.

    "I wish I could have taken a little more advantage."

    Annika Sorenstam, who won the 2003 Women's British Open at Royal Lytham for one of her 10 majors, also improved to 3 under after a 71 that included
    four birdies.

    "I thought I hit the ball beautifully today and had a lot of chances," said the Swede, who missed putts from 7 and 4 feet at the ninth and 12th holes to drop shots.

    "Those two would have been nice, but otherwise I was playing to my game plan."

    The championship is making history as the first women's pro event to be staged at St. Andrews, which is regarded as the home of golf.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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