Belgium’s Manon De Roey will take a five-shot lead into the final round of the Women’s NSW Open after a chip in birdie at the final hole for a 6-under round 66.
De Roey, who has never won on the Ladies European Tour, is 14-under the card for the last 36 holes and setting a pace the field is struggling to keep up with.
Her 64 yesterday is the best round of the week at the Dubbo Golf Club and the 29-year-old was pleased to have backed up that effort Saturday.
“I think it was about 8 out of 10,” she said when asked to assess her day three play.
“I was in the trees a lot today and had to chip out a few times but I managed to get up and down a lot so I was happy with that.”
De Roey will start the final round five ahead of Sweden’s Julia Engstrom, who carded a 68, and six clear of another Swede, Camilla Lennarth, who is at 9-under after a 70.
Two players – Slovenia’s Katja Pogacar and India’s Diksha Dagar – are at 8-under with another Slovenian, Pia Babnik, at 7-under alongside Thai sensation Atthaya Thitikul.
Of De Roey’s nearest challengers, Engstrom also marked herself an 8 out of 10 after faltering late in what could have been a spectacular round.
The 19-year-old was six under for the day and 12-under for the tournament when she stood on the 17th tee but back to back bogeys to finish her round took the edge off an otherwise superb effort.
“Obviously I got a little bad stretch at the end there with two bogeys but apart from that I played really good,” she said.
“My ball striking was good which had been slightly off the first two days and I kept rolling in the putts.
“Without the last two holes it could have been a 10 out of 10 but overall I’m very happy with the day.”
The narrow fairways at Dubbo Golf Club continue to be the main defence of the course with all the players in the leading groups citing straight driving as the key to good scoring.
“The rough is quite thick as well and you can get some bad lies if you’re not on the fairway so ball striking is key to give yourself lots of opportunities,” Engstrom said.
Lennarth agreed saying finding the short grass was the key to making any kind of score.
“If you can find the fairways you can be aggressive,” she said. “But if you don’t then it’s difficult. Playing from the trees is a hard way to make a score.”
Sydney’s Soo Jin Lee is the best of the Australian contingent at 4 under and sharing 10th while another Sydnesider, Grace Kim, is the leading amateur at 3-under and tied for 12th.