Italy’s Diana Luna fired a third round 65 to go two clear at the UniCredit Ladies German Open presented by Audi on Saturday.
The 28-year-old from Rome posted seven birdies on another scorching day at Golfpark Gut Häusern in Munich to tie her career low score.
The three-time Ladies European Tour winner – who last won at the 2009 SAS Masters in Norway – has not carded a bogey in 54-holes.
She finished on a 17 under par total ahead of Finland’s Minea Blomqvist, who shot a third straight round of 67 and Frenchwoman Virginie Lagoutte-Clement, the halfway leader who led by five at the start of the day.
Lagoutte-Clement shot a disappointing level par 72 containing two birdies and two bogeys but remains in the picture for her fourth LET title.
First round leader Becky Morgan of Wales shot 69 and is in the hunt for her maiden win at 13 under par, with Germany’s Caroline Masson a shot further behind after a 66.
Christel Boeljon from the Netherlands, who won the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open a fortnight ago, carded six birdies on her way to a 66 and sits at 11 under, with Sweden’s Louise Stahle (65) and France’s Sophie Giquel-Bettan (68) both seven shots off the pace. England’s Laura Davies, the 2010 champion, had a 71 and is one of five players who are eight strokes from the leader.
Luna opened with a run of five birdies going to the turn and picked up two more strokes at the par-five 11th and 18th holes to add a 65 to consecutive opening rounds of 67.
“I think I played more or less the same but holed more putts. I played well all week,” she said.
“I still think you have to play great tomorrow to get a win because this is a course where everybody is playing very well so I think I need a good score.”
She holed a three-foot birdie putt on 18 in front of a packed gallery, with 8700 spectators adding to the Major-like atmosphere on the third day.
Luna acknowledged the cheers and said: “It’s just unbelievable. I love to play when the crowd is there and it’s so nice that finally we have a good tournament, a good crowd. I’m really glad we have this fantastic organisation.”
Luna’s first daughter, Elena, was born just a year ago and it will be a battle of the young mothers on Sunday, as Blomqvist has a one-year-old son called Elmeri and Lagoutte-Clement has a three-year-old girl, Victoria.
Blomqvist is targeting her third LET victory and her first since the 2008 Finnair Masters. She said: “I’m very, very happy. I played with Diana Luna today and she played seven under and she started very well. I felt like I had to keep on going with her otherwise I’m staying behind so she gave me very good energy from early in the round.”
Along with Luna, LET rookie Sara Brown from the United States and the Swedish duo of Louise Stahle and Linda Wessberg also tied for the lowest rounds of the day with 65s. Brown’s score was the lowest of her career and she celebrated by dancing around on the 18th green and giving her caddie/boyfriend/instructor Derek Radley a kiss.
“I’m so excited. I started out good and I just kept making putt after putt, but I mean, I just kept hitting them close, so I was giving myself chances,” Brown said.
“On the back nine I actually had four putts that lipped out, so it could have been lower, but I guess all rounds could be lower. It was fun.”
The leaders will tee off at 11.15am on Sunday, with an anticipated finishing time of 4.15pm.