Anne Van Dam smashed her longest ever drive down the 18th fairway on the Majlis Course at Emirates Golf Club on Wednesday. Her 320-metre/350-yard effort set her up for an 8-iron approach shot into the green and a two-putt birdie, however it was her putting which helped her move to the top of the leader board on day two of the Omega Dubai Ladies Classic on Thursday.
Van Dam made seven birdies in a second-round of 65, including five on the front nine, which took her to 10-under-par after 36 holes, with a three-stroke lead over England’s Georgia Hall and Australian rookie professional Celina Yuan.
“I haven’t been putting great at all for the last half year, but I changed putters two days ago,” said last year’s Xiamen Ladies Open champion, 22, from Arhem in the Netherlands.
“I went for something completely different. Normally I have face-balance and now I have toe-hang. It’s a blade, and normally I have a mallet.”
Van Dam, ranked second in driving distance on tour, with an average drive of 278.60 yards, clearly relished the opportunity to compete in a long-hitting three-ball featuring Brittany Lincicome and Angel Yin, officially first in driving distance at 283 yards.
“We had a lot of fun out there today and yesterday as well,” she said, adding: “We were all under par for two days in a row and we all hit it long, so that helps, helps with the game and we all play aggressively.”
The lively American Solheim Cup player, Yin, 19, insisted on interviewing Van Dam after they finished playing together and commented: “Last year when I played with her, I was like, all that six feet height wasted, and this year was like, oh, I’m impressed.”
While Van Dam played a power game, the LET’s 2017 order of merit winner Hall plotted her way to a 67, her six birdies including a 30-feet effort on the ninth, which she played as her final hole.
“I did putt well today and I wanted to take advantage of the morning round, because the greens were in better condition and less wind, so I’m glad I did it,” said Hall, still jet-lagged from her trip from the United States.
“I woke up at midnight and didn’t get back to sleep. I wasn’t in the best of moods today. I’m quite tired, but I played well,” said Hall, who took half a club more on most shots to compensate.
Yuan, who had made one cut from six starts on the LET coming into this week, followed her opening 68 with a 69, although it wasn’t as eventful as the first round, when her ball hit an airborne parrot on the third hole and she went on to make a birdie there.
She explained: “I was going to hit my shot and everything was clear and then once I began and I hit my shot, a parrot flew by and I hit it in the air and it passed away. I got my mind off it and focused on my game after that.
“I never really expected to play like this. Really, I wasn’t striking it very well today, but the score somehow turned out pretty good.”