Sydney tyro Stephanie Kyriacou has a two shot lead late on the third day of the Australian Ladies Classic here at the Bonville Golf resort.
The Sydney teenager made a clutch birdie on the par-five fourteenth as her playing companions fell away.
First to stumble was the Korean star Ayean Cho, who made a double bogey on the 12th followed by bogeys on the 13th and 14th to be four shots adrift, and in a four-way tie for third.
Rookie LPGA player Lauren Stephenson has had some chances, but a cold putter hasn’t helped and she is two back of the St. Michael’s member.
Gemma Dryburgh has compiled one of the rounds of the day, a five under 67 to get to 11 under par. The Scot was pleased with her day’s work and thrilled to be in with a chance on the final day.
“Very happy. I birdied the last three holes which was very good.
“I played really solid to be honest.
“I bogeyed the first couple of holes and was happy to get back after that, even first nine. on the back nine I kind of went for it really.
“I haven’t had a chance to look at the leaderboard. I am four back, I’m right in there.”
Quietly confident about her chances, Dryburgh grinned when pressed about her chances being only four back.
“There’s no pressure on me really, I’m definitely there. In a funny way I am in a better position,” she smiled.
Van Dam throws down the gauntlet
Anne Van Dam has thrown down the gauntlet mid-way through the back nine with an eagle at the par-five 14th to climb into a tie for 4th alongside Peiying Tsai at 10 under to sit just three shots back of the leading pack.
After starting the day tied for 6th and eight shots back, the Dutch 24 year old with the swing regarded by many as the best in the world has been quietly climbing the leaderboard.
With the leaders not really moving this afternoon, Van Dam has seized the chance to move on what is traditional moving day.
Two birdies and no bogeys on the front nine before a birdie bogey start on the back has allowed her to keep pace with the leaders.
All tied at the top, but MacLaren on the prowl
It is a three-way tie on top of the leaderboard as the final group turns for the back nine.
Ayean Cho and Amateur Stephanie Kyriacou have both birdied the uphill par 4 ninth to join American Lauren Stephenson on top at 13 under.
Chinese Taipei’s Peiying Tsai has started her back nine with three straight pars and still sits three shots back of the leaders.
Meghan MacLaren is a another mover. After turning for home in 33 shots, the two time Women’s NSW Open Champion has added two birdies and a bogey to get to nine under and just four shots adrift of the leading trio.
Tsai on the move as leaders struggle
Peiying Tsai is the big mover mid-way through the third round of the Geoff King Motors Australian Ladies Classic.
Playing two groups in front of the leaders, the Chinese Taipei national is four under through eight holes. The highlight of her round, a spectacular eagle on the 7th, which she backed up on the very next hole by sliding home a birdie putt from close range.
There is plenty of interest in the final group with the lead changing hand three times in the opening seven holes.
Despite a bogey on her opening hole, Golf NSW’s young gun Stephanie Kyriacou made an early statement with birdies on the second followed by a spectacular chip in for birdie on the fourth to move into the outright lead.
A costly double on the par four 6th saw her drop back to 11 under.
Korean star Ayean Cho had a horror start with back-to-back bogeys to open her round, but birdies on the 5th and 7th have seen her make up the opening one shot deficit on overnight leader Lauren Stephenson.
Elements set to play a part on moving day
As if the game isn’t hard enough the field at the Geoff King Motors Australian Ladies Classic will also have rain to deal with as day three gets under way at the Bonville Golf Resort near Coffs Harbour.
Showers are forecast for the morning though little in the way of rain is expected during an overcast but mostly dry day.
However, with little breeze in evidence as the early groups hit off the course, it will remain wet and conditions will favour the long, high ball hitters in the field.
Soft greens, soft and little run on the fairways will make for an interesting contest as discipline under adverse conditions will be as much a part of the test as physical golf skills.
Sydney based amateur Steph Kyriacou teed off in the leading group with Korean World Number 34 Ayean Cho and American Lauren Stephenson at 9.25am.
Stephenson leads at 14-under with Cho at 13-under and Kyriacou a shot further back at 12-under after a stunning Friday 63.
The trio have a healthy lead over their nearest challengers, England’s Charlotte Thompson Swede Linea Strom and Finland’s Noora Komulainen who are all at 7-under.
Among the players to watch given the conditions will be the long hitting Anne van Dam of The Netherlands and two-time Women’s NSW Open winner Meg MacLaren who are both at 6-under.
Entry is free for spectators at the Bonville Golf Resort but those attending need to download and print a ticket from the tournament website at https://auswomensclassic.com.au.