Céline Boutier from France posted a third round of 67 at Amelkis Golf Course on Monday to remain at the top of the leader board and grab a two-shot advantage after three rounds of the Ladies European Tour’s Lalla Aicha Tour School Final Stage in Marrakech.
“I started pretty well with birdies on the first and second holes and then it was quite steady. I had two bogeys: one on three and one on 15. I had a wrong distance on 15, but then I chipped in for eagle on 18, so that was a really good way to end the day,” said the 23-year-old professional, who splits her time between her home in the Paris suburb of Montrouge and seeing her coach in Dallas, Texas.
“I feel like I just have to keep playing the way I’ve been playing. I’ve already thought about my strategy before, so I’m just trying to do my best every day.”
Boutier, who represented Europe at The 2011 PING Junior Solheim Cup, is now at 15-under-par after 54 holes and two clear of Australian amateur Celina Yuan, with Agathe Sauzon a stroke further behind in third.
On 11-under-par, second round co-leader Amandeep Drall was the best placed of those who played on the Samanah Course after a third round of 71.
She said: “The front nine was going fine and I was two-under until the eighth hole, because I was sticking it close and holing putts, but a triple with a three-putt on the ninth put me off a bit. I started with a couple of pars on the back nine and then a birdie on the 12th hole. After that, on the par 3s, off the tees I was pushing all my irons so they were not on line. I missed an up and down and then missed two more greens and made up and downs. The iron play was a bit off today, but the rest was okay.
“The way I was playing I am happy with one-under. This was one of those off days so I’m really looking forward to the next two days. A couple of good putts tomorrow and keep the bogeys off the card will be good enough. The expectation is still the same: to get in the top 30. If I could get the win, that would be nice but I won’t put pressure on myself. Two good rounds and I’ll be happy with a top 30 finish and I’ll be looking forward to playing on the Ladies European Tour next year.”
Andrea Wong from California, USA, recorded the lowest round of the tournament with a nine-under-par 63 on the Amelkis course to climb into fifth place.
The 22-year-old from San Francisco had 10 birdies and one bogey, on hole-three. “I’m pretty happy. I gave myself a lot of good opportunities at birdie and I was hitting it close all day. The putts were going in today. I think it’s my best round but I can’t remember,” said Wong, who has former Ladies European Tour player Anna Temple on her bag, who is also her coach, from UC Davis. “I felt really comfortable over the ball today and I had pretty short clubs in and so was giving myself a lot of good looks inside 15 feet.
“My goal was to just hover and my goal still is to just hover and hopefully those birdies will drop. Just making pars is good. I’ve always wanted to travel and see new places. I think golf is a wonderful way to do that and especially with the Ladies European Tour having stops not only in Europe but also in Asia and Australia, it gives me the opportunity to travel.”
The field of 115 players is split in two groups and will alternate over the first four rounds between Amelkis Golf Club and Samanah Country Club. There will be a cut to the top 60 and ties after the fourth round and the fifth and final round will be contested at Samanah Country Club.
Players who finish in the top 30 and ties will earn Ladies European Tour Membership in category 8 for 2017, while those that finish from positions 31st to 60th and ties after the cut will earn Membership in Category 9b.