Rawson, in her second year on the Ladies European Tour, fired six birdies and three bogeys in tricky conditions to hold the lead for the first time in her career.
“It would mean the world to me to win,” said Rawson, who hails from Adelaide but is based in Los Angeles. “This is my favourite event all year and my favourite golf course.”
Rawson had her career best finish of tied tenth in the tournament last year. She confessed that she had been inspired by the run of Australian victories on the LET so far this season and she joked: “The plan is for Australians to win all of the tournaments this year.”
Pilgrim, 30, from Newport in Wales, aimed to halt the Australians’ winning spell with her five birdies, but a run of three bogeys from the par-four 12th hindered her progress.
“I lost three and gained two. It was really tough out there but it feels good to be at the top of the leaderboard,” said Pilgrim.
“I was quite surprised to be up there on day one. It was tough then too but I hit a lot of greens. Yesterday I had a bad start and it didn’t come off but I’m over it now.”
“At the fifth I was in the most horrific divot and I thought about laying up but then I thought, “well I’m not here to lay up.” I went in the water and I was lucky to walk off with a six.”
Hauert had a mixed round with four birdies and four bogeys and despite her score she was slightly disappointed.
“Day two was the same as day three really. I’m not that happy with my game. I made many mistakes and I missed two short putts from inside a metre: one for par at the 14th and the other for birdie at the 12th.
“I’m glad I’m still up at the top of the leaderboard. It was tough today and although I used 50 plus sun screen I still felt like I was burning up and the wind was blowing really strongly.”
England’s Kirsty Taylor made the biggest move of the day – from a share of 50th place on four-over-par into a tie for sixth on level par. Having set out in still morning conditions she fired a four-under 68, with five birdies and one bogey.
The Lancashire player, who now bases herself in Gloucestershire, holed all her birdie putts from inside three feet and she said: “I hit my irons very close to the pins today. The last few holes were a lot tougher when the wind got up. It was flat calm this morning and there wasn’t a breath.”
Australia’s Nikki Garrett, aiming for her third win in as many weeks, shot a level par 72 and was in a seven-way tie for 11th position on two-over. She is one of 17 players who are within five shots of the leaders entering the final round.