Victorian Su Oh will start the final round of the AIG Women’s Open four shots off the lead after using a string of three straight birdies to rescue her third round at Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland overnight.
Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist and Nanna Koerstz Madsen from Denmark share the lead on nine-under after impressive rounds in challenging, wet conditions, Nordqvist signing for a best-of-the-week seven-under 65 while Koerstz Madsen added a third-round 68 for her nine-under total.
The USA’s Yealimi Noh had reached 10 under par only to drop four shots over Carnoustie’s demanding last three holes, meaning the consistent Lizette Salas is the nearest challenger to the top two after the American added a 70 to be eight-under through 54 holes.
Starting the third round in a share of 12th alongside fellow Australian Minjee Lee, Oh’s roller-coaster round of one-under 71 puts her four back at five-under in a tie for 15th, one stroke clear of Lee (72) who is tied for 18th.
Stephanie Kyriacou (71) is in a share of 27th heading into the final round while West Australian Hannah Green (71) will start her fourth round seven shots from the top of the leaderboard and in a tie for 33rd.
Back-to-back bogeys at the third and fourth holes saw Oh travel in the wrong direction on the leaderboard early in her round, a third bogey at eight sandwiched between two bogeys resulting in a front nine of one-over 37. The back nine also began with a bogey but she recovered in fine style, picking up three shots in the space of three holes from the par-five 12th to keep her title hopes alive.
“I thought I was going to have a million in the beginning to be honest. I was like, Oh, gosh,” said Oh, whose best finish at the Women’s Open is a tie for 15th in 2018.
“Just didn’t really hit many fairways and then life was really hard. But I made some really good up-and-downs and sort of finished well which I was very happy with. I think I went down the leaderboard overall but I finished one-under, so I guess from where I was after nine holes, I did move up.”
Conceding that she wasn’t as aggressive as she could have been at some of the friendlier pin locations on Saturday, Oh is revelling in the challenge that Carnoustie throws at players on every single shot.
“I love the golf course. I like how you have to think on every shot,” said Oh, who will begin her final round at 10.35pm AEST. “It stresses me out but I think that’s really good that you have to think about every shot. If you don’t take an aggressive line for your tee shot, then you’re going to have a really long putt into the green, so it’s kind of a choice you have to make. But if you do hit driver down the slot, then you’re going to have an easier second shot.
“We’ll see how we go tomorrow.”
After an early bogey at the third, Lee took advantage of the two par 5s on the back nine to join Oh at five-under only to drop a shot at Carnoustie’s closing hole for an even-par 72.
Stephanie Kyriacou also stumbled out of the gates with two early bogeys but responded with a hat-trick of birdies of her own from the sixth hole to make the turn in one-under. The 20-year-old began the back nine with seven straight pars only to counter a birdie at the par-4 17th with a bogey at the last to post 71. Chasing a second Major championship, Hannah Green had 13 pars, three birdies and two bogeys in her round of 71, dropping shots at five and nine and snaring birdies at six, seven and 12.
Round 4 tee times (AEST)
8.45pm Hannah Green, Gaby Lopez
9.30pm Stephanie Kyriacou, Jenny Shin
9.50pm Minjee Lee, Leonie Harm
10.35pm Su Oh, Ayaka Furue