The defending champion Azahara Muñoz completed matching consecutive opening rounds of three-under-par 68 on Friday to take a slender one-shot lead at the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España Femenino as she seeks a third successive victory on home soil.
On six-under-par, Muñoz leads by one over England’s Georgia Hall and Scotland’s Catriona Matthew at La Quinta Resort in Malaga.
Heavy rain led to the suspension of play overnight on Thursday, but the second round took place under clear skies on Friday, before play was halted due to darkness.
Muñoz was looking forward to some rest and she said: “It was a long day and I played 31 holes, but I’m very happy and I played really well. I gave myself lots of chances. It’s not easy to make putts here. I probably left a few out there, but no regrets, I’m really happy with my six-under. It was actually not too bad. I’m thankful that it only gets light at 8am in Spain, because we have much earlier starting times in America and in the UK.”
Hall, who played in the same group as Muñoz, signed for rounds of 67 and 70. The Ricoh Women’s British Open champion said: “It was a long day, but I played fine. We’ve got two more days to go, so hopefully I’ll hole some more putts. You have so many drops due to the water on the fairways, so it’s pretty tough. Putting is tough as well, as the greens are soggy, but they roll quite well, so you’ve got to stay patient out there.”
Matthew, The 2019 European Solheim Cup captain, completed opening rounds of 70 and 67 after playing 28 holes on Friday. She said afterwards: “This morning it was really wet and we had 10 holes to go. A few of the fairways were very muddy. It did dry out a little bit this afternoon but was still pretty soggy.
“I hit the ball really well this afternoon and gave myself a lot of chances. You always come off feeling that you could have holed a few more but I’m happy with four-under this afternoon. With it being so wet, it’s just kind of hitting and sitting, which makes the fairways a lot wider. The greens are tricky and you can get some really fast ones even with all the rain, and you can’t believe it, but there are some fast ones down the hill.”
Germany’s Olivia Cowan is in the clubhouse on four-under-par, after rounds of 68 and 70, with Amelia Lewis of the United States a shot further back in fifth on three-under.
The second round will resume at 8.45am on Saturday and round three will begin at approximately 1.30pm. There will be a two-tee-start ‘U Draw’ and the pairings for round four will be the same as for round three.