When Ariya Jutanagarn takes a mind, even in the middle of a superb 66 in strong Scottish winds, she’ll park herself at the greenside and take time to enjoy herself.
She’ll even admire the play of her rivals. The 2018 Women’s Scottish Open champion leads at the halfway stage at Dumbarnie Links by three full strokes after she negotiated her way through the breezes to a nine-under total.
The two-time major winner – still only 25 – will plop herself down whenever she needs to take the weight off her feet and applaud the play of those she’s competing against. On a hard-walking course like Dumbarnie, that’s been quite a few times in the last two days.
‘I’m lazy and tired all the time’
.@Jutanugarn on 🔝
— Trust Golf Women's Scottish Open (@Womens_Scottish) August 13, 2021
“I like to sit all the time because I’m lazy and tired all the time,” she joked. “I feel like sitting down and to enjoy the view, even enjoy the other player playing. If you have nothing better to do then it’s good just rooting for them.
“When you sit down, have some time to see other players hit some great shots. Patty (Tavatanakit) she hit so many good shots, she had one great up and down and I was so impressed.”
Most of the best shots on Friday came from the champion at Gullane, and that win fulfilled an ambition.
“My dream my whole life was to win on a links course,” she said. “I won my British Open at Woburn which is not links, so I was so glad about 2018. It brings back all the good memories when I’m here.”
Although she didn’t quite relish the stronger winds, she played them better than most, with five birdies on the back nine.
‘I feel pretty lucky before everything worse comes’
“I felt like when I played in the windy afternoon yesterday, I thought `at least it’s going to be better for me in the morning’,” she said.
“And actually it’s wasn’t. The wind start to go really hard since the first hole and the last few holes, even worse. So I feel pretty lucky that I finish before everything worse is going to come.”
It did come, the wind getting up to 40 mph gusts later in the day. Denmark’s Emily Kristine Pedersen moved into second with a second three-under 69, but was spitting at giving up so many shots on the greens.
“My putting has been an absolute disgrace the last two days,” said the new golden girl of European golf. “I have nine bogeys and six of them are because of 3-putts.
“I shouldn’t be making six bogeys. I’m driving the ball so well that it should be a little bit more of an advantage for me. Six bogeys is just too much.”
It wasn’t all bad, though. She also chipped in twice, and had two eagles. There were just five pars on her card for the day.
Charley makes an exception for Dumbarnie
Charley Hull is also sharing second and might be excommunicated from the UK club for saying she doesn’t much like links golf. But she’ll make an exception for Dumbarnie Links.
“I really like this course, but I’m not sure why,” she said after her second successive 69. “Today could have been a lot lower, I left a few shots out there on the back nine.”
The strong winds more than equalised the advantage enjoyed by the early starters on Thursday. The afternoon groups on Friday had a brutal battle.
First round leader Michele Thomson went out in the worst of the weather and fell all the way back to one-over with a 80.
“It was just one of those days where you couldn’t get in any rhythm and one shot just went after another,” she said. “I’m here for the weekend, and I’d have taken that yesterday, but obviously there was a greater expectation after yesterday.”
Carly Booth also battled through to make the cut on the mark at one-over, but Gemma Dryburgh, Alison Muirhead and Kylie Henry all missed out for the weekend.