(Surfers Paradise, Australia, February 28 2004) World number one Annika Sörenstam screamed into contention for her third ANZ Ladies Masters title after a scintillating third round seven under par 65 at Royal Pines GC and takes a one shot lead into Sunday’s final round.

Stupples – aiming high for the win

But the talk of the day was about the irrepressible Swede who blistered her way around the front nine carding six birdies in her first eight holes. The talk of another 59 was echoing around the course. But after making just a par at the ninth hole with a five iron in her hand for her second shot, and with the wind becoming increasingly capricious, the dream was slipping away.

Three more pars from followed and despite a fist pumping birdie at the 13th and another at the 14th, a repeat performance of her 13-under at Moon Valley in 2001, was looking unlikely.

Pars at the 15th, 16th and 17th were solid and when she missed the green with a seven iron at the final hole and failed to get up and down, the bogey was a sour point to end an otherwise stellar display.

“Oh, I definitely was thinking about another 59, but the wind got up around the turn and it was a little trickier,” said Sörenstam, who turned in 31.

“Overall, I am very pleased, I would have taken a 65 before I went out. It seems I’ve got the front nine sorted out, now I have to work on the back nine.

“I’m in a good position and tomorrow, I’ll have to play some good golf as there are lots of top players there. There is still a bit of rust in the game, but I’ve got tomorrow to get it all cleared.”

Stupples, who has yet to win as a professional will have some extra motivation as if she wins, she will automatically gain a winner’s exemption for the Ladies European Tour.

The 30-year-old from Deal in Kent plays regularly on the LPGA Tour and her best finish is third behind Sörenstam in 2002 at the Safeway Classic in Oregon. Stupples has the best chance for some revenge on Sunday and if she wins, the opportunity to make a beeline for Solheim Cup selection in 2005.

“I wasn’t quite as steady today as I was in the first two rounds,” said Stupples.

“The wind was a little different out there, but to be in contention, I am very pleased.

“I am looking forward to playing with Annika tomorrow and I am going to have to try and be patient and play my own game.”