Caroline Masson

Germany’s Caroline Masson fired a three under par 69 on Saturday morning to join overnight leader Carlota Ciganda at the top of the leader board at the China Suzhou Taihu Open.

Masson bogeyed the second but immediately struck back with three straight birdies for an outward total of two under par. She picked up shots at 10 and 13 before dropping a shot at 16 to end seven under alongside Ciganda, as the Spaniard was just heading out on the course.

“It was tough out there today. It was a lot windier and tricky to judge. I hit the ball well and got close to the pins,” said Masson, who enjoyed playing in the breezy and foggy conditions. “I seem to play well in windy conditions because I’m used to it.

“I have a local caddie. I think it helps sometimes to think your way around, think about pin positions, yardages. Sometimes you can get lazy. That was the same at the South African Women’s Open which I won.”

England’s Felicity Johnson ended the morning a stroke back on six under par after a 67. She had three birdies on the back nine before dropping a shot at the first and picked up three shots in a row from the fifth.

Canadian Samantha Richdale and Tania Elosegui of Spain were tied at four under after rounds of 68 and 74 respectively, while Chinese professional Lin Xiyu, 16, playing in the same group as Masson, ended the morning four strokes behind the German on three under after a second round of 70 alongside Florentyna Parker of England.

The two-time tournament winner this year on the CLPGA tour was four under after six holes but double bogeyed the par-three 17th before recovering a birdie at the last.

“I’m not in a rush to grab the trophy but can’t help thinking about if I won, I could qualify for the LET for two years,” said Lin, who is scheduled to attend LET Tour School for the first time in December.

As a proven winner on the Chinese tour, she will take extra confidence into the final round and feels that she can cope well under pressure.

However, whether she will be close enough remains to be seen as Ciganda continued to impress on Saturday afternoon. The 22-year-old birdied no.4 and no.5 to reach nine under par and remained bogey-free for the tournament after 24 holes.