Defending champion Meghan MacLaren and Lynn Carlsson moved into a share of the lead on 10-under-par entering the final round of the Women’s New South Wales Open.
The pair carded matching third rounds of four-under-par 67 at Queanbeyan Golf Club and are two clear of the halfway leader Valdis Thora Jonsdottir, Karolin Lampert and Christine Wolf.
MacLaren won the title by two strokes at Coffs Harbour Golf Club last year, where she went into the final round leading by the same margin.
The 24-year-old from Northamptonshire, England, said that the experience would give her extra confidence as she looks for her second Ladies European Tour win.
“Any time that you’ve been in this position, it doesn’t guarantee anything, but there is something different mentally to know that you have done it in the past. The situation is completely different, but being the defending champion and being in the last group is pretty cool,” she said.
MacLaren made a fast start on Saturday with an eagle on the third hole, followed by a bogey on the fourth. She carded four birdies and another bogey on the 14th hole.
“It was good out there today. It was a little bit of a different round to the past two days and felt like I had a bit more up and down in it. I made an eagle early on, which was a nice little kick start to my round. I didn’t hole as many putts as I would have liked, but I rolled in a couple from long range, so it probably balanced itself out.
“I can’t really complain. I feel like I’ve left shots out there but I’m still standing here at the top of the leader board so that tells me a lot about where my game is right now.
“Someone could go out and shoot a 63 as Valdis did on Thursday, it’s out there, but the situation with being in the last group, people’s mind sets might be a bit different. You’ve got to be patient because if it doesn’t go right to start with, there are plenty of chances towards the end.”
Carlsson, who is yet to win on tour, birdied the last hole to join MacLaren on 10-under after hitting a superb iron shot to within a metre of the flag in front of a large gallery.
The 24-year-old from Varberg in Sweden, who posted a career best tie for third in last year’s Lacoste Ladies Open de France at Golf du Medoc, had six birdies and two bogeys on her card.
She said: “I enjoyed today and played solid. It was similar to yesterday. I hit a lot of good approach shots and had a few easy birdies, so it was nice.
“On the last hole, we had an exact number, felt that it was the club and hit it good. It’s a new day tomorrow so we’ll see what happens then, but obviously it’s a good feeling. It’s always nice to be in contention, so it will be a good day.”
MacLaren and Carlsson will play with Wolf in the final round. The Austrian shared the lead with MacLaren and Carlsson after nine holes in the third round, but came home in one-over-par.
“I started well with a birdie and an eagle in the first three holes and I had a couple of bad putts on the back nine, but I gave myself chances so I’m quite happy,” said the 28-year-old from Innsbruck, who tied for second in the Hero Women’s Indian Open late last year.
“You always like to be in one of the last groups, in contention. Of course I’m now two shots behind but on this course, anything can happen.”
The final round of the LET’s Australian swing gets under way at 8.25am local time on Sunday and the leaders tee off at 10.04am.