England’s Jodi Ewart blew away the rest of the field with a six under par round of 67 in windy conditions on the South Course at La Manga Club in Spain on Tuesday.
The 24-year-old from North Yorkshire fired six birdies to lead the Ladies European Tour’s Final Qualifying School for 2012 by seven strokes with two rounds to play.
Marjet Van der Graaff was on six under par, with Heather Bowie-Young, Stephanie Kirchmayr and Carlota Ciganda four strokes further behind on two under.
Ewart was one of only nine players in the field to break par on a cold and blustery third day in Cartagena, Murcia and she explained: “I felt like I had a little bubble around me today, actually. I’m pretty experienced in the wind.
“We seemed to play a lot in the wind on the Futures Tour and in college. New Mexico is really windy in the spring. Obviously being from England too, I have a lot of experience in the wind and it only really started raining on the last hole.
“They say not to fight it because when you fight it things go wrong and take your medicine when you hit a bad shot or have a bad hole. If you try and fight the wind, the wind is always going to win.”
Ewart, who earned her full card for the LPGA in December, has chosen not to look at any leader boards during the qualifiers. “I’m taking each shot and each hole at a time. I’m really enjoying playing golf out there,” she said.
Teeing off at the 10th, playing into the wind, she was happy to make three pars before collecting her first birdie on the 13th hole. She picked up shots at the 17th and 18th before reeling off three successive birdies from the second.
“My putting actually saved me quite a few times. I didn’t have any bogeys today, so I made some really good par putts and drained a lot of putts from over 15 feet,” she said.
“I had three birdies in a row on the front nine at the second, third and fourth, which was my back nine, because I teed off ten. I would say both two and three were about 15 feet. Four was around six feet. I had 28 putts, 11 fairways and 15 greens.”
Van der Graaff was content with her third round of one under par 72 on the South Course. The 29 year old from Rÿswÿk in Holland said: “I hit it really well and almost every shot was a good hit so that makes it easier.
“I made one bogey and two birdies so I had a solid round and one drop in this weather is pretty good, I think.”
She has her friend and fellow LET professional Marieke Nivard on caddie duties this week, while Ewart has chosen not to have a caddie.
Another Dutchwoman, Kyra Van Leeuwen ended the day tied for six on one under par with Clare Queen, Alexandra Villatte and Anais Maggetti, while Maria Beautell shot a four under 69 on the South Course and moved up to tenth place.
First round co-leader Sharmila Nicollet’s 80 saw her slip into a share of 11th on one over par, while fellow first round co-leader Chrisje de Vries was in a share of 14th after a 73.
The 90-hole Final Qualifying School is being played with 36 holes on each of La Manga Club’s North and South courses for the first four rounds with a cut to the leading 50 players and ties after 72 holes. The fifth round will be played on the South Course on Thursday and the top 30 players will earn LET Membership in category 8a.