Nocera leads, Hull survives

Nocera, beaten by Hull in a play-off last season and runner-up to the teenager in the final Ladies European Tour Order of Merit standings, carded a bogey-free 65 at the??Golf de L???Ocean in Agadir??to edge one stroke clear of Nicole Garcia.

The French veteran started at the 10th and parred her first six holes before enjoying a superb run of six birdies in her next seven holes to get to nine under as her putter caught fire mid round.

???I???m really happy with the way things turned out today,” Nocera said. “I hit the ball well and putted well, so everything is in order. I made a good putt on the first where I was six metres away and then I was two metres away each time, so some good putts. They were not easy, but I hit the ball well.

???I just want to play my game. I???m trying to get ready for next week. I???m playing the ANA Inspiration in the US, so I want my coach to come and work on my game. I???ve always wanted to win this tournament, so that???s why I???m here and I???ll try my best for the weekend.???

South African Garcia roared to the turn in just 30 blows, including an eagle at the sixth followed by birdies at the next two, and he picked up another shot at the 11th before blotting her card at the 16th in a commendable 65.

The 24-year-old, in her second season on the Ladies European Tour, said: ???I had a good front nine and I was hoping to keep it going on the back nine, but I???m happy with the score because the wind picked up a little bit.

“I think the turning point was the par-5 sixth hole because I made an eagle there and then birdie, birdie. That got me going a bit so that was where my score went low.???

When I first came here I was just hoping to make the cut, and I hope I???ve done that,??? she said. ???Now, I don???t really have any expectations and I???m just going to play on the weekend.???

Overnight co-leader Ursula Wikstrom fired a three-under 68 to share third place on seven under along with 16-year-old French amateur Mathilda Cappeliez, who had six birdies and two bogeys in a 67.

England’s Felicity Johnson is a further shot back after a four-birdie 68, while her compatriots Melissa Reid (68) and Eleanor Givens (69) are well placed on five under par.??

Hull, who struggled to an opening 74 on Thursday, looked in danger of crashing out of the tournament after she bogeyed the second and third to slip to five over par.

But the English teenager bounced back with an eagle-two at the fifth and a birdie at the sixth, although she parred the next nine holes before giving a shot back at the 16th.

Two closing pars added up to a 71 and left her right on the cut mark at three over, although Hull insisted: ???I was in it all the way. I hit it really well today, just all my putts. I hit 16 greens in regulation and hit every fairway apart from two or three.???

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