Australian Rebecca Artis was joined in the lead by American rookie Jessica Yadloczky on a third day of low scoring at the Deutsche Bank Ladies Swiss Open.
Playing in blazing sunshine and in the same tricky breeze as the previous afternoon, Artis recorded an impressive bogey-free round of 70 containing two birdies to stay at the top of the leader board for the third successive day.
She ended on an 11 under par total at Golf Gerre Losone in Ticino and was joined by Yadloczky, who jumped up the leader board with a seven under par 65. South African Ashleigh Simon shot 66 and is one shot back, followed by the Netherlands’ Marjet Van der Graaff (67) a shot further behind.
Artis and Yadloczky share the same goal: to claim their maiden win at the third largest prize-money event on the Ladies European Tour, which boasts a winner’s cheque of €78,500.
Artis said: “I played solid out there again today. The wind was up again like yesterday so it wasn’t playing easy, but I just got it around the golf course. I missed a couple of fairways and followed on with missed greens but managed to make a couple of good up and downs so I kept the momentum going and it was bogey-free out there today so I’m pretty happy with that.
“I was able to control my nerves early, really. I’ve been doing a lot of work back home with a psychologist, Noel Blundell, and it’s really helped me. I’ve always been someone to get a little nervous so I was able to really put into action some of the stuff he’s told me and really play well.”
However, Floridian Yadloczky is also in a terrific vein of form having played in the last group with a chance to win in at the Allianz Ladies Slovak Open last week.
She made her first cut of the year at the Deloitte Dutch Ladies Open three weeks ago by making an eagle at the 36th hole and since then has been improving steadily, with a share of 57th in Holland followed by a tie for fifth in Slovakia.
“I think it all started in Germany when I went out and watched Sandra Gal and Laura Davies, Sophie, Trish Johnson and all the big names that were in the lead. I learned a lot,” Yadloczky said. “They just hit greens and ever since then that’s all I’ve been focusing on. Last week was a good finish as well for me and that’s all I focused on, so I think if I keep doing that things will keep going from here. Being in contention is contagious, so I like the feeling.”
“I’ve been stuck on 14 greens, which has improved so much over the last couple of weeks and today I was like, let’s go 16 and I hit 16 greens. That’s all I’m focusing on out there.”
Yadloczky came through the field with eight birdies in her first 15 holes, but dropped a shot on 16. She hit 16 greens, 10 fairways and had 27 putts.
The 23-year-old wanted to thank her coach, Patti McGowan at Lake Nona, where she works as a beverage cart girl to make money in the off-season.
With her winnings, she hopes to be able to bring her parents from America to Europe to watch her compete.
However, with nine players within three shots of the lead, the tournament remains wide-open.
Simon is strongly placed to challenge for a third LET trophy and fancies her chances.
“Obviously I’m very pleased with the round out there today. Conditions got a little tough this afternoon with the wind but I managed to hang in there on the back nine and pull in two birdies,” she said.
“I stayed really patient the first few holes and I drove it really good. I was firing some iron shots close on the front nine and made four birdies in a row and then the back nine I hit a lot of good shots but didn’t make the putts and stayed patient. I ended up chipping in on 16 for birdie.
“Throughout my career, I’ve come from behind a lot, so I am comfortable in that position. Whenever you’re leading a tournament it’s always a good position as well.”
A group of five players were three shots off the pace on eight under, including the defending champion, Italian Diana Luna, recent Scottish winner Carly Booth and England’s all-time great, Laura Davies, who shot 66, with five birdies on the back nine.
Davies, who will be targeting an 80th career title, said: “I needed to start doing something because we were one under at the turn, playing nicely but not hitting anything close. Gerald mentioned I hadn’t hit it close enough so I then hit it stiff on three of the next four holes and all of a sudden we were on a run.
“I made a nice birdie putt on 16 and then pitched short on 18 but a nice finish, five under on the back.”
The fourth and final round begins at 8am on Sunday with the leading pairing of Artis and Yadloczky teeing off at 12.28pm.
|Rebecca and Geoff Artis on the 18th green at the end of their third round|