North Berwick local Catriona Matthew leads by three strokes heading into the final round of the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open.
The 44-year-old world number 10 fired rounds of 71 and 67 on the pine tree-lined Fidra Course at Archerfield Links in East Lothian to move to six-under-par ahead of Frenchwoman Anne-Lise Caudal and England’s Liz Young.
After going out first on a crisp and windy morning, Matthew started with a bogey on 10 but picked up shots on 11, 16 and 18 for a back nine total of 34.
She then birdied the second, third, fifth and seventh before a ‘silly bogey’ on eight and made a solid up and down on the ninth green to return in 33 just after midday.
“I’m delighted!” said the Solheim Cup heroine. “I played well and made a few putts today so very pleased. It’s still pretty windy, about the same as yesterday.”
Two years ago, in 2011, Matthew led by four strokes after the second round before proceeding to an imperious 10 stroke margin of victory.
“I played really well that week. I obviously had a bit of luck to win by that much. There are a lot of good players out there. I’ll try to have another good round tomorrow,” said Matthew, looking for an 11th career victory.
|Liz Young (formerly Bennett) and caddie Jonathan Watt from Brokenhurst Manor GC
Young moved into joint second with a four-under 68 and will be targeting her first podium finish in five years as a professional.
Three-under-par after 14 holes in Friday’s first round, she bogeyed the last four holes for a 73 but had turned her ankle after searching for a ball in the rough on 15. Playing with a heavily strapped ankle on Saturday, she began with a bogey on 11, but immediately picked up a pair of birdies and then came in with three further birdies on holes two, five and six.
“I played the same as yesterday but holed some crucial putts for par and when I did miss the greens, got up and down and just one bogey on the card,” said Young, who had a career best finish of 4th in the event two years ago. “It was fairly solid all the way round and I was making the most of my chances.”
Caudal, who won the 2008 Portugal Open and the 2012 German Open, maintained her form of the first day with a level par 72 to remain in the hunt.
She said: “I’m very happy. It was tough again today with the wind. I dropped a shot on my 17th: hole number eight, missed a short putt, but I’m quite happy. Level par is good for this competition.”
With Matthew three shots ahead, Caudal is still optimistic about her chances. “It’s going to be a good challenge tomorrow and I’m going to try to catch her,” she said.
Recent Pilsen Golf Masters champion Ann-Kathrin Lindner from Germany and England’s Hannah Burke share fourth place on two-under-par. Spain’s Maria Hernandez and Australian Stephanie Na are the only two other players under par, a stroke further behind in a tie for sixth place.