Sergas retains lead in NZ Women’s Open

Overnight leader Giulia Sergas of Italy shot a 3-under-par 69 to

take a two-stroke lead after Friday’s second round of the New

Zealand Women’s Open golf tournament.

The 31-year-old, U.S.-based Sergas led by three shots after a

first-round 64 and had a two-round total of 11-under 133.

Kristie Smith of Australia was in second after a 64, posting

nine birdies and a bogey in a round which lifted her nine places up

the leaderboard.

Linda Wessberg of Sweden shot the day’s best round of 63 to sit

in third place on 9-under 137, four shots behind Sergas.

Smith was a late starter on the tournament’s first day and

struggled to a 1-under 71 in strong winds. She made the best of an

early tee time on Friday, with her only mistake a three-putt at the

par-3 15th.

”That came out of the blue because I was playing well and had

holed some great putts,” Smith said. ”I didn’t really hit it

close, but put it close with my wedges when I needed to and made

the putts when I needed to.”

Thirteen-year-old New Zealand amateur Lydia Ko was among a group

of four players in fourth place at 6-under-par, along with British

veteran and defending champion Laura Davies. Ko had a 68 Friday and

Davies shot 66.