|Klara Spilkova from Prague
Klara Spilkova of the Czech Republic overcame a three shot deficit to move into a share of the lead with Germany’s Caroline Masson and South African Ashleigh Simon heading into the final round of the ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters at the home of the Ladies European Tour.
Spilkova fired a second successive six-under 66 on the Buckinghamshire Golf Course in Denham, England, to join the first round leaders on a 36-hole total of 132, 12-under-par. Australian Bree Arthur also had a 66 to lie one shot back in outright fourth.
The 18-year-old from Prague will be trying to claim her first Ladies European Tour victory whilst simultaneously qualifying for next week’s Ricoh Women’s British Open. The top three players not already exempt will book their place by Sunday night.
“It was pretty good today,” said Spilkova, now in her third season on the LET. “I really like the course. I enjoy the views and the greens are very good. I like the fairways to be a bit hard and the drivers run. I really want to win because it’s going to be my first and it would be something special.”
Masson led for most of the day after firing four birdies on the front nine but was disappointed to bogey the last for a 69.
The 24-year-old European Solheim Cup team hopeful from Gladbeck said: “I’m not very happy about my finish, obviously. The only dropped shot today, on 18, I three-putted and that felt a bit unnecessary. I made a good save on 17 after I hit it in the water, so I hit some great shots today but ended up in a bad lie here or there. I couldn’t get them as close as yesterday but that’s always what you expect when you play the next day, because you’re expectations are pretty high. I think I managed pretty well apart from 18. I’m still in the lead so I think it was a good two days.”
Simon, who also shot 69, will be hoping to make amends for the disappointment of 12 months ago, when she was leading by two strokes going into the final round at Buckinghamshire Golf Club but shot a final round 76 to end in a share of third place.
“Last year I was leading by two going into the final round here and I’ve learned from that hopefully,” said the 24-year-old from Johannesburg.
Conditions were hot and sunny all day until a brief shower at 5pm as Simon finished her round. “It was a bit tougher; the course was a lot bouncier and you had to change some clubs off the tee because the ball was just running. The greens were still very good but I think the rain tonight will definitely soften it up,” she said.
England’s Charley Hull and Marion Ricordeau share fifth place, just two shots off the lead going into the final round.
“I’ve been in this position five times this year, so it should be good!” said rookie professional Hull, who had five runner-up finishes in her first five starts on tour this year.
Meanwhile, four players, including the world No.7, Karrie Webb, lie in a share of seventh on nine-under-par.
Webb went out in one-over 37 and was 10 shots behind Masson at the turn. However, she fired five birdies in a row from the 10th and birdied the 18th to come back in 30, ending the day just three shots off the lead.
Webb fought through heavy wind gusts to win the ShopRite Classic in the USA last month and with dry but windy conditions, gusting up to 30 miles per hour forecast for Sunday, she will be one to watch in the final round.