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Salonen Separates With Konopiště Crusher

Eveliina Salonen moved into first place at the Konopiště Open’s halfway mark. Photo: Eino Ansio

After a round one showing in which she carded zero birdies, Finnish phenom Eveliina Salonen made up for lost time during the Konopiště Open’s second round Friday.

The 18-year-old laid down a scorcher in the Open Women’s division, logging a 995-rated 5-under par 62 to move into first place at the European Major’s midway point with a 3-under par 131 total. That score has her in front of fellow Finn Henna Blomroos, who moved into second place with a 2-over par 69 that brought her 36-hole total to a 6-over par 140.

Catrina Allen, who led heading into Friday’s tilt with the Franz Ferdinand course, struggled mightily en route to a 7-over par 74 that dropped her to third place with a 7-over par 141 total. Estonia’s Kristin Tattar (+11) and Slovakia’s Katka Bodová (+14) round out the top 5.

Salonen’s performance came down to a jump in green hits. She quadrupled her rate from Thursday, landing with a look for birdie in regulation on 44 percent of her opportunities during round two. She didn’t land any putts from outside the circle, but was good on 75 percent of her shots from 10 meters and in.

The round wasn’t only significant for its impact on the Open Women’s field: Salonen’s score bested 78 players in the Open division, a whopping 60.1 percent of the pack. It was also her highest rated round of 2018 and her second best in the last 12 months.

Blomroos, who is currently Finland’s highest-rated women’s player at 942, matched that clip with her two-shot improvement over round one. The 18-year-old started off the affair with a green hit that she parlayed into a birdie on the 211-meter 1st – Hannele Määttä was the only other woman to deuce the opening hole – before rolling up two more birdies throughout the round.

Allen, who recovered from an early double-bogey during round one to salvage an even-par showing, simply could not stop the bleeding on Friday. She strayed out-of-bounds on hole 1 before carding another bogey on 2, then strung together three straight bogeys on 5 through 7. She took her only birdie of the day with a green hit on the 90-meter 8th and added another penalty shot to card a double-boegy 6 on hole 16.

Elsewhere on the leaderboard, defending champion Vanessa Van Dyken is tied with Määttä in sixth place at 15-over, while Switzerland’s Natalie Holloköi and Finland’s Anna-Sofia Haipus share eighth place with their 17-over par totals. Two more Estonian players, Liis Päid and Madli Vaht, make up 10th place at 18-over par.

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