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Lottie Woad survives windy day to lead Augusta National Women’s Amateur by two

EVANS, Ga. — Right when it looked as though Lottie Woad of England would be blown away by the wind, she rallied to salvage a 1-under 71 on Thursday in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur to take a two-shot lead into the final round at the home of the Masters.

Anna Davis will miss Saturday’s final round at Augusta National for the second straight year after her surprise victory in 2022, all because of another rules violation.

The wind was so strong at Champions Retreat that only five players managed to break par.

Davis was penalized a stroke for violating the championship’s pace-of-play policy.

Woad was surprised to be one of them, especially after she opened with a double bogey and was 3 over through eight holes on what she considers the easier front nine. But the Florida State sophomore stuffed a 7-iron to a foot on the par-5 ninth and began her rally.

Woad shot 33 on the back nine, including a slick 25-foot birdie putt on No. 12, and a tough par save from 8 feet on the 16th. She was at 5-under 139.

She led by two over Gianna Clemente (71) and Maisie Filler (73). Only nine other players were under par after two rounds at Champions Retreat.

Everyone goes to Augusta National on Friday for a practice round. Only the top 30 and ties compete in the final round, a group that will not include Davis.

She was right on the cut line at 3-over 145 until learning after her round that she was assessed a one-shot penalty for violating the pace-of-play policy. That turned her par into a bogey on the par-3 17th and she had to sign for a 78, missing the cut by one shot.

Tee times and how to watch Saturday’s final round at Augusta National Golf Club.

A year ago in the opening round, Davis twice lifted and cleaned her ball from the rough, not realizing that preferred lies in the soggy conditions were allowed only from the fairway. She was assessed a pair of two-shot penalties, turning her bogey-5 into a 9.

Woad also made the cut and competed at Augusta National a year ago. Now she is equipped with a two-shot lead after a tough day.

“Lot of wind, definitely a grind,” Woad said. “I was just trying to make pars and holed a few nice ones. That’s probably one of the best 1 unders I’ve shot in a long time.”

Clemente, the youngest player in the field a year ago, managed five birdies in her round of 71, including a chip-in on the par-3 eighth hole. She played early enough that the 16-year-old Clemente was able to avoid an entire day of wind.

“This is probably some of the most swirly wind I’ve ever played in,” she said.

Filler, a senior at Florida, finished strong until the very end. She picked up three birdies in a four-hole stretch and was in good position on the par-5 18th. But her third shot came up some 40 feet short into the wind, and she three-putted for bogey and a 73.

Ingrid Lindblad of Sweden, a fifth-year senior at LSU and the No. 1 player in the women’s amateur ranking, struggled to a 76 but was very much in the game at 1-under 143. She was in the group with Hannah Darling of Scotland, the first-round leader who shot a 77.

The best round belonged to Carla Bernat Escuder of Spain, a junior at Kansas State. She opened with a 78 and then shot 69 in the wind to make the cut on the number.