Queenslander Bree Arthur and NSW’s Karen Lunn are the leading Australians heading into the final round of the Mission Hills World Ladies Championship in Haikou, southern China.
The pair shared 18th position at three-under-par total and 11 shots adrift of the leader, South Korean Inbee Park. Arthur posted a third round of three-under-par 69 on the Sandbelt Trails Course, while Lunn shot a two-under-par.
Rolex World No.4 Park took the edge after a hotly contested third round. Park began the day with a one stroke lead but lost it to Spain’s Carlota Ciganda after three holes. However, the 24-year-old from Seoul regained her lead after four birdies on the back nine, firing a third round 69 to end 14 under and take a two shot lead into the final round.
Park said: “I had a really bad start today, I bogeyed two of the first four holes but I’m happy with the way I finished today with five birdies after the two bogies. That’s very good momentum going into tomorrow. I’m just a little bit disappointed with my ball striking; it wasn’t as good as yesterday but my putting was getting much better.
Leading the chase is Norway’s World No.8 Suzann Pettersen, who shot her second successive round of 67 and is outright second at 12-under-par. South Korea’s Soo Jin Yang is a further two shots adrift, while Ciganda dropped to fourth on eight under after taking a triple bogey seven on the 17th hole.
Of the remaining Australians in the field this week, Kristie Smith had a disappointing third round, she started the day in the top 10, however a three-over 75 saw her fall back down the leaderboard to two-under and into a share of 21st position.
ACT’s Nikki Campbell (73) and South Australian Stephanie Na (75) are tied for 31st at one-over-par. Victorian Open winner Stacey Keating had it going in the third round, she was four-under-par going out, however two doubles on her way in saw her post an even par round to remain at three-over and in a share of 40th.
In terms of the teams event, which is being played in conjunction with the normal strokeplay, the South Korean pair of Park and Na Heul Kim hold a massive lead with a combined aggregate score of 18 under par and 10 shots ahead of Norway and Thailand a shot further back in third.
France is in fourth place, followed by England, Spain and Australia. Lunn and Keating are representing Australia this week.