It was moving day at Plantation Golf & Country Club at Stage II of LPGA Qualifying and move is certainly what Leona Maguire did!
Maguire, who had been in T69 position after the second round returned a superb third round of 70 (-2) on the Panther Course which included three birdies and just the one dropped shot as she moved up to T43 on the leaderboard, just two shots off the Top 25 + ties mark.
The significance of the Top25 + ties is that at a minimum these players advance to Q-Series, contested from Oct. 22 to Nov. 3 at Pinehurst Resort. Those at the next score, or scores, will also advance provided that the total number of players in Q-Series does not exceed 108, which currently has 62 exempt and entered competitors. So another good day today could see her break into the Top 25 and guarantee a move on to the Q-Series.
Amy Boulden (St. Asaph, Wales) put on a show with a bogey-free, 7-under par 65, also on the Panther Course, to position herself atop the leaderboard after 54 holes and the five-year Ladies European Tour (LET) veteran heads into the final round with a two-shot advantage at 11-under par overall.
“I am playing well this week and thought if I could roll the greens nicely then I could hole some putts since there are some low scores to be shot out here,” said Boulden. “That’s what I did today and had some nice yardages into the greens. I tried to find the spots for nice straight uphill putts.”
Easily the highlight of the day for Boulden came on her finishing hole, the par-4 18th. From 138 yards out, she launched a 9-iron into the air and watched it find the bottom of the cup. Boulden will take the momentum into her final 18 holes.
“Had a bit of a downhill lie and it rolled a little to the right, but probably the best strike I had all day to be honest,” said Boulden, who recorded five birdies in addition to the eagle. “I have my coach [Paul Williams] on the bag and am really enjoying that. We are treating this tournament like any other event and the goal was always to win, so that is what I am trying to achieve.”
Not only is Boulden experienced on the European circuit, but also when it comes to the LPGA Qualifying Tournament. This time around is her third attempt at Stage II and Boulden is taking full advantage of the history she has with both the Panther Course and Bobcat Course.
“I know them pretty well,” Boulden said with a smile. “I actually feel good enough to get a LPGA card. That’s where the confidence has come from, playing well the last couple of events on the LET and seeing that my game is in a good place.”
Meanwhile, 36-hole leader Youngin Chun (Gainesville, Florida) overcame a tough start to shoot 2-under par 70. The 2018 Symetra Tour rookie carded a 1-over par 37 going out and then rattled off four birdies over her last eight holes following a bogey to start the back nine.
After 54 holes, a total of 24 players are at 2-under par or better, with eight more individuals sitting on the 1-under par mark. Meanwhile, 42 competitors will enter the final round at even par or better.