Unstoppable Mehaffey five clear in Welsh defence
 Olivia Mehaffey (Royal Co Down Ladies). Picture: Ronan Lang

Olivia Mehaffey (Royal Co Down Ladies). Picture: Ronan Lang

Olivia Mehaffey is on course to retain the Welsh Open Ladies Amateur Stroke Play after an immaculate, five under par 68 catapulted her into a five stroke lead at Conwy.

Just a week after being pipped in her defence of the Helen Holm Scottish Women’s Open Strokeplay at Royal Troon, the world No 9 posted the best score of the day by four shots to get back to one over par and move into contention for her fifth championship victory in little more than a year.

England’s Lianna Bailey double bogeyed the 18th but still shot a 74 to sit alone in second place on five over par with Donaghadee’s Jessica Ross moving up six places to joint third with Germany’s Fiona Liddell (72) on seven over after making an eagle, three birdies, two bogeys and a triple bogey eight in a rollercoaster 73.

It was a good day all round for the Irish contingent with recently selected Curtis Cup player Maria Dunne showing her class by following an 86 with a one under 72 to move up 44 places to joint 12th.

The Skerries player is tied on 12 over par with joint overnight leader Sinead Sexton from Lahinch, who added an 81 to her first round 77.

Cork’s Rachel Thomson is tied 22nd on 15 over after an 81 with Ballinrobe’s Shannon Burke ip 20 places to 28th after a 77.

Castletroy’s Chloe Ryan missed the cut after a second round 84.

Welsh Open Ladies Amateur Stroke Play, Conwy (Par 73)

Detailed scores

1 MEHAFFEY, Olivia RCD Ladies +1 -5 79 68 147    

2 BAILEY, Lianna Kirby Muxloe Golf Club +6 +1 78 74 152

T3 LIDDEAL, Fiona Schloss Vorholz +7 - 1 81 72 153

T3 ROSS, Jessica Queens Sport +7 Par 80 73 153    

T12 DUNNE, Maria Skerries +12 -1 86 72 158    

T12 SEXTON, Sinéad Lahinch +12 +8 77 81 158    

T22 THOMSON, Rachel Cork +15 +8    80 81 161    

T28 BURKE, Shannon Ballinrobe/MU +16 +4 85 77 162    

MC RYAN, Chloe Castletroy +28 +11 90 84 174