Three birdies in her final five holes brought Stephanie Meadow back into the top-10 heading into the final round of the LPGA Mediheal Championship after a rough day in California.
The Jordanstown woman had dropped as low as outside the top-20 after bogeys at the second and third, and she would par her next ten to halt any momentum she had gained after two strong opening rounds.
But birdies at the 14th, 17th and 18th meant she would finish her day at The Saticoy Club with a one-under 71 that means she will head into the final round tied for ninth at seven-under-par.
It seems likely Meadow will be too far back to mount a challenge for the title as Jodi Ewart Shadoff continued her bid to win wire-to-wire as a second consecutive 69 took her up to 14-under-par, maintaining her four-shot lead over South Africa’s Paula Reto.
“I hit my driver really well again today. Hit a lot of greens again. Just I think my speed putting was really good today,” said Ewart Shadoff.
“So I think overall I just feel really comfortable with how I’m hitting the ball, and, yeah, it was steady and consistent again. It’s always nice to have a bogey-free round of course.
“I think anything can happen on a Sunday. I think four shots is nice, but as I said, there is world class players around me. Anything can happen. I just have to stick to my game and concentrate on what I’m doing and stay in the moment.”
It could still be a significant week for Meadow in her bid to reach the CME Globe Tour Championship, the 30-year-old currently sitting 79th and needing to break into the top-60 in order to qualify for the season-ending tournament.
Her finish to her round will give her plenty of confidence she can carry that into Sunday, and while the win might be beyond her, she is only three shots back of second-placed Reto, which is a realistic target.
Barring a final round collapse, it looks like Ewart Shadoff is on course for her first LPGA Tour title as three birdies in a bogey-free 69 has her in complete control at the top of the leaderboard.
Reto just about stayed on her coat-tails at 10-under thanks to five birdies and two bogeys in a third round 69 of her own, while Andrea Lee, Celine Boutier and Hinako Shibuno are a shot further back at nine-under-par.