South African Connie Chen and Wales’ Amy Boulden emerged from a crowded leader board to share the lead on nine under par after the third round of the Tenerife Open de España Femenino.
The pair fired matching rounds of three under par 69 in hot conditions at Golf Costa Adeje to end the day a stroke ahead of Celine Herbin from France, who fired a sizzling seven under par 65.
There were eight players who either led outright or held a share of the lead over the course of moving day and they included Solheim Cup player Carlota Ciganda, rookie Nicole Broch Larsen and two-time champion Kylie Walker, who ended the day on seven under par in a share of fourth place.
Charley Hull tied for the lead after three birdies in her first seven holes but dropped back to six under with a 71. Midway leader Maria Balikoeva had a 77 and moved back into a tie for 14th.
Nikki Campbell continues to be Australia’s most consistent player on the LET this year. Campbell has fired rounds of 70, 73 and 70 to be three-under-par and tied for 11th position. Whitney Hillier (73) shares 24th place at even par, while Bree Arthur (72) is at four-over-par and tied for 40th. Adriana Brent is a further shot back and is in a share of 46th position heading into the final round.
Chen set the clubhouse target when she chipped in from just behind the 18th green for eagle, before Boulden chipped and putted for birdie on the same hole. Both players are looking for their first wins on the Ladies European Tour and Boulden is also targeting the rookie of the year trophy.
After a third straight round of 69, Boulden, 21, from Llandudno with two top five places on the LET this summer, commented: “I played solid again. I got off to a rocky start but managed to hole a few testers on the first few holes to keep me in there. I’m hoping for the same tomorrow or a bit lower. On the back nine I made three birdies in a row which gave a lot of momentum. There was a little bit of wind out there but the heat was making it very warm and sweaty. I’ve been putting myself into contention in most of the tournaments, or the last few, so just hoping the win is around the corner.”
Chen, whose best finish in four years on tour was a tie for seventh in this year’s Sberbank Golf Masters in the Czech Republic, arrived in Tenerife a week early to practice on the greens and the 21-year-old from Pretoria was particularly pleased with her putting.
The Guangzhou, China, based player said: “I’ve been working really hard. I got here a week earlier and did a lot of putting on the greens here so I had a week of practice. Hopefully my swing will be better tomorrow and a few more putts will drop.”
The round of the day by Celine Herbin – including a bogey on the first hole and eight birdies – matched first round leader Trish Johnson’s day one score.