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Women's British Open 2020: Dani Holmqvist Holds 1-Stroke Lead After Round 2

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 21, 2020

Daniela Holmqvist, of Sweden, hits out of a bunker on the 11th green during the second round of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship golf tournament, Friday, June 21, 2019, in Chaska, Minn. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

Dani Holmqvist is halfway to a Women's British Open crown.

Holmqvist is one stroke clear of a crowded field following a one-under 70 in Friday's second round at Royal Troon in Scotland. She was solid in the first round as well, shooting even-par, and is one under for the tournament.

Here is a look at the top of the leaderboard, which can be found in full on the tournament's official website.

1. Dani Holmqvist, -1

T2. Austin Ernst, E

T2. Sophia Popov, E

T4. Emily Kristine Pedersen, +1

T4. Lindsey Weaver, +1

T4. Lydia Ko, +1

T4. Jasmine Suwannapura, +1

T4. Minjee Lee, +1

T9. Haru Nomura, +2

T9. Nelly Korda, +2

Holmqvist took a steady approach throughout the round with four birdies, three bogeys and 11 pars. Her back-to-back birdies on Nos. 13 and 14 allowed her to make the move into first place.

LPGA @LPGA

71-70 over two days for @DHolmqvist 🔥 She’s alone in the clubhouse at 1-under #AIGWO | @AIGWomensOpen https://t.co/qJkMweFT9Q

LPGA @LPGA

Boring or not, @DHolmqvist's game plan is working 👏 Dani closed out her round at -1, and is currently the only player under par https://t.co/ifAM61enWF

That she did it all in driving winds and rain made it all the more impressive.

"Conditions were really tough," she told reporters. "I felt like it was brutal out there, but happy to get in under par."

Austin Ernst also got in under par in the difficult conditions during the second round, shooting a one-under 70 that left her a stroke behind Holmqvist. She missed an opportunity to top the leaderboard when she bogeyed the par-five 16th after a previous bogey on No. 14.

LPGA @LPGA

What a birdie from @AustinErnst92! 💥 She’s 1-under and one stroke off the lead at the @AIGWomensOpen! Watch major championship golf now on @GolfChannel! https://t.co/Ogkf45lrTm

Those holes undermined her strong start with three birdies on the front nine, but a birdie on the 17th put her a stroke back.

Sophia Popov also moved a stroke behind with a late birdie, notching it on the 18th hole following a stretch of nine straight pars. She was still plus-one on the round thanks to three bogeys on the front nine.

A large group of competitors is well within striking distance at one over, including Minjee Lee—who birdied the final two holes to end her round—and two-time major winner Lydia Ko, who is looking for her first career win at the Women's British Open.

LPGA @LPGA

A clutch birdie on 18 from @minjeegolf 💥 That’s good for a second round 69, tied for the lowest round of the day 👏 She’s two strokes off the lead in Scotland #AIGWO | @AIGWomensOpen https://t.co/XYOd4YrWmj

LPGA @LPGA

Lydia Ko is in the clubhouse at +1 👏 The 2x major winner’s highest finish at the @AIGWomensOpen was T3 in the 2015. Watch now on @GolfChannel! https://t.co/Des5y7TqXi

LPGA @LPGA

A birdie to move within two of the lead 👏 Lydia Ko cards her first birdie of the day in Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Watch the @AIGWomensOpen now on @GolfChannel! https://t.co/URj2E50mi6

While Holmqvist is atop the leaderboard, much of the focus going into the tournament was on Danielle Kang.

Kang finished in third place at the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio in January and has been dominant since the LPGA resumed play following a hiatus for the COVID-19 pandemic. She won the Drive On Championship and Marathon Classic back-to-back in Ohio and then finished in a tie for fifth place at the Ladies Scottish Open.

It appeared she would contend at the Women's British Open even though she has never finished better than a tie for 41st place.

Unfortunately, her struggles at the event have reared their ugly head once again. She shot a five-over 76 in the opening round that would have been far worse without an eagle and two birdies on Nos. 16-18. However, she was unable to pick up where she left off with a three-over 74 in Round 2 that featured a single birdie.

Charlotte Gibson of ESPN noted eight Women's British Open champions were looking for another victory this year.

However, half of them are set to miss the cut: Laura Davies (+12), Stacy Lewis (+11), In-Kyung Kim (+10) and reigning champion Hinako Shibuno (+12). Meanwhile, Catriona Matthew (+5), Inbee Park (+4), Ariya Jutanugarn (+5) and Georgia Hall (+7) are looking up at the top of the leaderboard through two rounds.

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