Dewi Claire Schreefel of the Netherlands will take a two stroke lead into the final day at the Helsingborg Open despite a shaky end to her third round at Vasatorps Golfklubb in Sweden.
Two clear of the field with a hole to play, Schreefel appeared to be in total control of her game until she hit her second shot from a fairway bunker into the grandstand behind the 18th green, narrowly missing the seated spectators.
Luckily, after receiving a free drop, she played a beautiful chip stone dead and ended the day on 205, 11-under-par, two strokes ahead of the defending champion Rebecca Artis (68). Local player Caroline Hedwall also had a 68 and was a stroke further behind on eight under par.
“It was a very good day today,” said Schreefel, 28, from Alkmaar. “It was a nice round of golf with nice weather in good conditions with lots of fans. I was striking the ball well, seeing my lines and I’m not sure how many birdies I had but I’m pleased to be in this position and will go out tomorrow and do the same thing and see where it ends up.”
Schreefel bogeyed the first hole but immediately birdied the second before adding two more birdies and a bogey for an outward nine of 35. She made three birdies on holes 12, 14 and 17 before making par on 18, commenting: “I had an interesting lie and we weren’t sure what the ball was going to do so we thought we would err on the long side and it definitely did. I think I did scare some of the fans.”
With one professional career victory on the US Symetra Tour in 2009, Schreefel plays most of her golf on the LPGA and is still searching for her first win on the LET, having come closest at the 2012 Omega Dubai Ladies Masters, where she finished in second place.
A solid round containing four birdies from Artis, who won by a stroke over Hedwall 12 months ago, gave the 25-year-old Australian a chance of retaining the title. She said: “I hit the ball very well again and hit a couple of loose shots coming in but the short game held me in so I’m pretty happy with the day really. I’m in a good position. Coming in here at the start of the week if you would have said I’d be two behind sitting in second going into the last day I would have taken it so I’ll go out there and chase early on and enjoy the day.”
Hedwall has recovered her confidence with her driver and is enjoying the home support in Helsingborg. Although she dropped shots on the second and fourth holes, she made six birdies and said: “I’m very happy with today, four under was just what I was looking for. It was a rough start but I made the turn at even par and I managed to make four birdies coming home. I do feel the pressure, but I enjoy it. It’s amazing, it’s been a good crowd out there so I’m just enjoying it and having a lot of fun.”
A stroke behind Hedwall, in fourth place on seven-under-par, is Austrian Christine Wolf, who has previously only made two cuts on the Ladies European Tour: this year in Turkey and Slovakia. The 25-year-old from Innsbruck, who has a limited category 9 membership of the LET, bogeyed the first and double bogeyed the fifth after finding the water but fired six birdies in her third round 69. “I made a lot of good putts today and I didn’t really know where I was, I just kept playing,” said Wolf, who admitted to feeling a little nervous playing with Hedwall. “I said to myself, ‘Why be nervous, just soak it up,’ and that’s what I did and started making birdies and had a good time.”
Denmark’s Line Vedel was alone in fifth on six-under-par, while Becky Brewerton, Whitney Hillier and Noora Tamminen shared sixth on five-under. Valentine Derrey from France was alone in ninth position and Dame Laura Davies recovered from her second round 76 with a 68 to lie in a five-way share of 10th place on three-under-par.
Of the other Australians to make the weekend Whitney Hillier shot a third round 72 to be 6 shots back at 5 under par, Nikki Campbell is at -3 and Nikki Garrett is at -1.