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26/10/2019

‘A tough day at the office’ was Great Britain and Ireland captain Tracy Loveys’ summation of the second day of the inaugural Women’s PGA Cup in Austin, Texas. And not just for her five-strong team.

Even the hosts struggled after setting the standard on day one. More so Canada, the USA’s closest pursuers.

Having begun day two on three-over, the USA ended it on plus 16. Despite the decline their two-shot lead over their northern neighbours increased to 13.

Canada, in common, with the other four teams had found the Foothills Course at Barton Creek Resort and Spa a tough opponent on day one.

That none of them broke par in a tournament in which the three best scores from five count towards the overall total is proof positive of its difficulty; likewise the fact that just 59 birdies have been recorded in 900 attempts over the two days.

As if the course was not challenging enough, Mother Nature conspired to make things tougher by dumping two inches of rain on it overnight, trimming the temperature by almost two-thirds to 10° and throwing a strong north-easterly wind into the mix.

A case perhaps of team Great Britain and Ireland welcoming their opponents to their world.

“The girls had a totally different course to face,” said Loveys. “We’re more used to those conditions so I guess they were in our favour.”

While their rivals all fared less well on day two, Loveys’ team matched their first round total of 21-over, their consistency epitomised by Scotland’s Heather MacRae (top) who posted a second successive round of four-over.

In terms of the tournament’s individual scores her 76 was the joint-second best of the day. It was one shy of those posted by Rebecca Lee-Bentham of Canada and the USA’s Brittany Kelly, a player who made her debut on the LPGA Tour in June at a time when MacRae was beginning the long recovery process following major surgery for cervical cancer.

MacRae, meanwhile, was aided and abetted for the second day running by Suzanne Dickens (right) with a six-over-par 78 and Ali Gray who contributed for the first time with a round of nine-over.

As a result Great Britain moved up to third place on 42-over, 10 and 13 shots clear of Australia and Sweden respectively and, intriguingly, just 16 adrift of Canada.

That may sound a lot,” added Loveys. “But on this golf course, in this format, that can change very, very quickly.”