(Arras, June 21 2003) After a day of blazing sunshine at Le Golf d’Arras, defending champion Lynnette Brooky from New Zealand shares the third round lead on nine under par at the €275,000 Open de Dames France with Norway’s Vibeke Stensrud, who is trying to emulate compatriot Suzann Pettersen in winning her maiden title here.

Brooky – going for defence

Brooky made the first move of the day with a brace of birdies at the first two holes, adding more at the fourth and sixth to turn in 32. But the Chalfont St.Peter based player dropped her first shot at the 12th after three putting and with confidence sapped, the Kiwi came home disappointed.

“I started off great on the front nine, nothing was wrong and then on the back nine, I started missing putts,” said Brooky, who would be the first player to successfully defend her title since Laura Davies in 1996.

“Some putts jumped off line and I just lost my confidence. But I’m going to practice for an hour and make sure it’s perfect for tomorrow.”

Stensrud is reaping the rewards of an intensive fitness programme and sprinted up the first five holes with a birdie and an eagle at the fifth when she hit a four wood to 12 feet. Despite a bogey at the sixth, the 29-year-old from Oslo turned in 34 and then made her move while Brooky stuttered.