Leona Maguire cannot rule of victory ahead of the final round of the AIG Women’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.
Maguire added a third day level par 72 to remain at five-under par but heads into the fourth round of the year’s final women’s just four shots behind the leading duo of Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist (65) and Dane Nanna Koerstz Madsen (68) after a miserable and wet day in Scotland.
Nordqvist’s round is the lowest of the week with the 34-year-old double major winner capping her round with three birdies in succession from the sixth hole.
There are another 13 players between the leading Scandinavian pair and the two others that share 15th place with Maguire. They include Lexi Thompson (70) at seven-under, double major-winning Thai Ariya Jutanugarn (68) at six-under par and 2018 AIG Women’s Open winner Georgia Hall (73) on six-under par.
Maguire’s round was a mix of two birdies at 11 and 12 while she dropped shots at the sixth and 15th holes in an otherwise very steady day given the uncomfortable conditions on the famed links layout to the east of Dundee.
“I was happy how I drove the ball today as I avoided for the most part a lot of fairway bunkers apart from just one,” she said.
“For the most part, I avoided the bunkers as much as I could and just plodded my way around. Felt like I played really nicely. I just didn’t hole any putts at all”.
Maguire’s best finish in the 26-year-old’s 16 women’s majors was her T6th in the recent Evian Masters while a continued strong showing on day four should see her announced on Monday as the first Irish-born to play in a Solheim Cup.
“Looking ahead to tomorrow, I think I’ll just try to play really good golf”, she said.
“I give myself as many chances as possible and try to post a number and then see what happens. We don’t know what’s going to happen on the back nine of this golf course, so I guess I’ll be out a bit earlier than the leaders and try and post a number, and, yeah, make them think a little bit coming down those last five holes.
“We have one more round, so I’ll give it everything I have tomorrow. It’s been a draining week. Definitely this golf course demands every bit of your concentration. You can’t switch off for a second.
“So, I’ll give it one really last good go tomorrow and then I’ve got a week off at home. Should be nice”.
Of course, if Maguire were to win it would be an historic Ireland Open Championship winning double at Carnoustie following Padraig Harrington’s triumph in 2007.
Lauren Walsh’s goal of becoming the low amateur was severely dampened in the wet conditions with a third day 76 to drop back into a share of 56th at three-over par.
That is 10 shots shy of top-placed Scottish amateur Louise Duncan who shot a 68 to be very much in contention for victory and just two back of the lead at seven-under par.