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McBeth Takes Lead in Nokia

Overcast skies, rain showers, steady winds, and unseasonably cool weather once again challenged the competitors during Friday’s second round of the European Open in Nokia Finland. The “Beast” course, designed by EO tournament director Jussi Meresmaa, lived up to its name in yesterday’s initial round as an even par round of 64 was preliminarily rated at 1017, and a round of 66 (+2) was 1000 rated. The challenging conditions on Friday would surely test the mettle and mental fortitude of every competitor.

In the Open Women’s division, first round leader Paige Pierce struggled on the day while Valarie Jenkins played steady and consistent golf to erase a sizable early deficit. Pierce started the day at +4, seven throws clear of second place Catrina Ulibarri at +11, and nine throws clear of Jenkins in third place at +13. Switzerland’s, Natalie Holloköi rounded out the lead card at +17.

Jenkins played the front nine brilliantly at one under par to grab the lead before the group had even made the turn to the back nine. Pierce ran into big trouble on hole 6, recording a devastating nine on the very challenging par 4 hole to leave her reeling at 9 over par for the front nine.  Jenkins continued her stellar play down the stretch to complete her round at +3 and to claim the lead. Pierce’s +15 on the day knocked her back into second place, three throws off the pace.  Catrina Ulibarri sits in third just one back from Pierce after recording a respectable +9 in the inclement weather. Natalie Holloköi struggled at +18 to fall from the lead card, but was the only woman player to par the very tough hole 6. Jessie Westphal was +14 on the day to move on to the lead card going into the third round on Saturday.

In the Men’s Open division, first round leader Steve Brinster had a tough day with a one over par 65 to drop back to the second card. Paul McBeth looked very comfortable and confident on his way to carding the best round of the day with a -8 to take a three throw lead. Will Schusterick matched the low round with his own -8 to jump from the second card and into second place just three throws behind McBeth. Ricky Wysocki also jumped from the second card and into third place with a -6 which leaves him five throws off the lead, while Jeremy Koling carded a -4 to round out the lead group.

Click here for complete results, round ratings, and tee times. A photo gallery of the event can be viewed on the European Open website. Saturday is moving day at the European Open and players will be looking to put themselves into better position for Sunday’s final round, which will be broadcast live on Finnish national television. For complete tournament coverage, follow the action at,, and the European Open website at