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Smith pinches women's Aust Open golf lead

NZN 17/02/2017 Steve Larkin

Queensland golfer Sarah Jane Smith has stolen the women's Australian Open lead with a sizzling second round but Karrie Webb's quest for another national crown is cooked.

Five-time champion Webb failed to make the cut after Friday's second round at Royal Adelaide, while world No.1 Lydia Ko just scraped through.

Ko's even-par total was just one stroke inside the cut line, with Webb (three over) missing out after a rollercoaster even-par round on Friday featuring four birdies and four bogeys.

Geelong-born Smith produced Friday's low round, a stellar six-under-par 67, to move to nine under and pinch the lead from Queensland's Katherine Kirk.

Smith, ranked 107th in the world, peeled off three consecutive birdies, and six overall, and is daring to dream of winning her first national championship.

"I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about it," the 32-year-old said.

"Obviously, it would be a dream come true and something that every young Australian thinks about at some point.

"So to even be in this position right now is pretty exciting."

Smith is coming off her best LPGA year, making 24 cuts from 28 tournaments including a tie for second last November in Mexico - a career-best result she will draw on.

"I just need to control my nerves," she said.

"I was in contention in Mexico and the Saturday kind of got the best of me ... it was a struggle.

"But the Sunday, I felt like I learnt from it and relaxed a little more and had a good day.

"I am hoping I have learnt from that and can relax a little bit and continue doing what I have been doing."

Smith's compatriot Kirk clung to her overnight lead for much of the day until a double-bogey on her 17th hole - she slipped to seven under, one shot shy of a trio of overseas golfers.

Australia's Hannah Green was momentarily at eight under when she eagled the 17th hole, but then gave the shots back with a double-bogey on the last to finish at six under.

Fellow locals Rebecca Artis (five under), Minjee Lee (four under), Su Oh (three under) and Stephanie Na (two under) are also positioned to make a weekend run.

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