Hinako Shibuno. Women’s Scottish Open

Hinako Shibuno held on to a two-stroke lead at the halfway stage of the Women’s Scottish Open, recovering from a shaky start to shoot a 68 at Dundonald Links.

The major champion started with a bogey on the first but soon turned her day around with a birdie on the second before adding another on the fifth.

Three more birdies on the back nine saw Shibuno head top the top of the leaderboard on 12-under.

“I’m very sad about the three-putt at the first hole,” she said. “I had a birdie on the second hole. I think I did very well today, so I was not thinking about yesterday.

“The wind was getting weaker and weaker, but there was still some wind, and it was very difficult for me. Maja [Stark] has a good rhythm and plays good, it’s the best player to play with.

“I was very calm today. The first time I won was the AIG Women’s Open and that was still in the UK, so maybe I feel better being here.”

It was an impressive second round for Maja Stark who fired a 65 to climb into second place on 10-under-par.

Despite a having a headache on the first six holes, that didn’t stop the six-time LET winner who rolled in birdies on three, five and eight.

A dropped shot on the 10th spurred the Swede on further before she made five consecutive birdies — the second time she has done that on the LET — for a round of seven-under.

“It was very solid today,” said Stark. “I had a really frustrating headache on the first six holes. I didn’t really care about my game, to be honest. Maybe it was a good thing that I didn’t really pay attention.

“But then we got that figured out and I started making some putts. The bogey on 10 really made me start sharpening up and then I just felt like everything went smooth. I had a lot of confidence today.

“I practise every day, and I have a lot of good focus putting and a lot of drills trying to match read with speed and everything. It just makes it easier to especially visualise out there because they have so many little subtle slopes here.

“I’ve noticed that I play better when I feel like I have lots of open spaces around me because it doesn’t feel like I focus on the wrong things. For example, Evian, I could only look at the trees that I could hit into, and then I do. It’s nicer to be here, and I love links golf, so I think that’s also a factor.”

France’s Celine Boutier and Australia’s Sarah Kemp are in a share of third place on seven-underafter they both fired rounds of 68 on day two at Dundonald Links.

Boutier, who won last week’s Amundi Evian Championship, only dropped two shots and rolled in six birdies.

“This morning was definitely a little bit less windy than yesterday and I feel like I had a lot of birdie chances,” said the major champion, who finished as runner-up here in 2022.

“More birdies than yesterday, so that was that pretty positive. I feel like my game is in place. I’m just hoping to keep going for the weekend.

“I am pretty tired, not going to lie. It was very tough to find some energy on the last nine, but I was able to finish the round, and I’m just going to do my best to rest for the weekend.”