Jordanstown ace Stephanie Meadow positioned herself just outside the top-20 going into the final round at the Chevron Championship after a fine third round at Mission Hills.
The 30-year-old is looking for her best finish at a Major since this tournament last year – when it was called the ANA Inspiration – and she put herself in a good position to do so with a bogey-free 67 on Saturday to move up to 21st at four-under-par.
Meadow had birdied her opening hole but her round overall was a slow burner, until it suddenly burst into life when she birdied three of her five holes from the ninth to 14th, and then she finished with a flourish with a birdie at 18.
It’s an extremely positive week for Meadow, who has battled for form this season, but after her top-10 at the JTBC Classic last week it looks like she is starting to gather some momentum, although she enters round four 12 shots off the lead held by Jennifer Kupcho.
Meanwhile, it was a second round in which Leona Maguire neither moved up nor down as she carded three bogeys and a birdie in a two-over 74 to leave herself one-under-par in a share of 44th.
The Cavan woman appeared to have given herself a fighting chance of staging a weekend surge up the leaderboard but came unstuck when she struggled to find birdies – the only one of her round coming at the second allied with bogeys at the first, 13th and 15th.
Elsewhere, Jennifer Kupcho will take a commanding six-shot lead into the final round in Rancho Mirage as a stunning eight-under 64 moved within touching distance of her first LPGA Tour victory, and in a Major, no less.
The American birdied nine holes and bogeyed one to sit at 16-under-par with just 18 holes remaining, with defending champion Patty Tavatanakit her nearest challenger after a 70 took her to 10-under, with Jessica Korda’s 67 leaving her at nine-under.
“Everything was working. I mean, seriously, this week I think my putting is definitely the props. I have putted really well, and you got to make putts in a Major championship,” grinned Kupcho, whose 64 was her best round on Tour.
“It’s all a blur. You’re just out there grinding shot by shot. I think that’s one thing I’ve really done it well this week is taking it shot by shot and not thinking about the end result.”