Weather has ladies scrambling

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:17 AM ET

The conditions are getting tougher, and so is holding on to top spot on the leaderboard at the Sun Life Financial Alberta Ladies Amateur Golf Championship.

With winds gusting at the Petroleum Club yesterday, pushing and pulling balls off line and messing with club selection, scoring became secondary to just keeping their heads above water.

ONLY ONE PAR ROUND

Only one player managed to shoot even par and only three players in the field of 70 could get it as low as two-over par 75.

First-round leader Judy Dotten, who opened the tournament with a two-under par 71, and started yesterday's round with a two-shot lead, could only manage a 76 yesterday. A birdie and four bogeys gave her a 36-hole total of 147, still good enough for the lead, but her cushion on the closest challengers is even slimmer than it was before.

"A little shaky today," said Dotten, who preferred to blame herself, rather than the weather. "It was definitely windy, but I actually like the wind. (The 76) was all me. I just made it tougher on myself.

"I hit a couple of shots right and didn't get it up and down - then you go to the range to practise the things that went wrong, and there's no problem. But I guess you'd rather have it that way than missing everything on the range, too, and not knowing how to fix it."

The trio that did manage to shoot 75 all made ground. Jade Polonich of Edmonton (73-75-148) and Nicole Forshner of Banff (73-75-148) are both one stroke back. Fourth-place Bari Erais of Lethbridge (74-75-149) is two off the lead.

In all, 13 players are within nine shots of the lead with 36 holes to go.

"I like the way this is set up," said Dotten, who lives in Calgary but spends a lot of her time in Ontario. "A lot of amateur tournaments aren't four rounds. This is a truer test because you have to play consistently for 72 holes."

BACK IN THE HUNT

Dotten, who used to play Division I college golf before stepping away to focus on work is back at it now, trying to close out a pretty significant tournament.

"They're all really good players," said the 33-year-old. "Everyone is within striking distance of winning."

The best round of the day went to Ashley Olynick of Saskatoon, who posted a 73, but it came on the heels of an 83, so she's still well back at T11.

Whitney Cox (75-80-155) and Susan Nam (77-78-155), both of Edmonton, are tied for ninth.


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