Kreutz, a 2005 Solheim Cup player, had struggled to a 38 on the front nine but returned with a magnificent 29 on the back nine for a five-under-par 67. That took to her to ten-under-par for the tournament and outright second position. The par-4 13th hole marked a significant turning point for the French woman, who said she had been nervous on the front nine. Once she loosened up and found her rhythm, she was all set for an incredible run that went birdie, ace, birdie, birdie, par, birdie.
At the 14th hole, Kreutz holed a six-iron from 160 yards for a hole-in-one, which took her to seven-under-par for the tournament.
She said it was an ugly shot and she had turned her eyes away in disgust before her caddy informed her that it had hopped and rolled straight into the cup. Had she repeated the feat at 16, she would have won AUS$10,000 for her efforts; but she had to settle with a birdie.
That birdie took her to nine-under-par and into a tie for second position with Catherine Cartwright of Florida, who eventually finished the day tied for third with American amateur Tiffany Joh at nine-under.
US LPGA Tour player Cartwright, 22, had a 70 today, while Joh, who is still just 19, had a 69. They are closely followed by Sweden’s Louise Stahle and France’s Gwladys Nocera at eight-under-par total, in tied fifth position.
Yang, the dynamic teenager who has now led the tournament for two days, is the outright leader heading into tomorrow’s fourth and final round and admitted that she was Robina High School’s best golfer.
Her coach, Lawrie Montague, who is also the owner of Australia High Performance Golf Academy on Australia’s Gold Coast, said that she is one of the most promising and talented young players he has come across in his long career as a teaching professional.
Montague was the Australian National coach from 1992 until 1999 and said: “Obviously I’ve seen a lot of talented golfers. But I’ve never seen a 16-year-old amateur go into the biggest professional tournament in Australia and lead for two rounds. She can play and her record around Royal Pines is great; she has had some really low scores here.
“Her best score around here was seven under and that was when she finished double, double, birdie, so obviously she can do it.”
Montague’s belief in Yang is so strong that, while most amateurs would merely hope to make the cut in a tournament of this calibre, he has told her to aim for a top ten position this week, but more than that; she believes she can win it.
“She is very long off the tee and hits it very straight,” said Tucker, adding: “when her wedge play improves she’ll be a force to be reckoned with.”
The Australia High Performance Golf Academy focuses on shooting low scores before swing perfection, and ‘going low’ seems to have been Yang’s mind set.
As well as being one of 15 youngsters enrolled in the Academy, Yang is a member of The Glades, and her father James is caddying for her this week.
The family moved to Australia for the golf and her father used to be a PE teacher in Korea.
“My grandfather first asked me if I wanted to play golf when I was ten years old, six years ago,” said Yang, who is learning English.
Montague said: “Just about the worst that Amy can shoot around here is about a 76, because she makes a lot of birdies and I hope I don’t regret saying that!”
If Yang wins tomorrow, she will become the first amateur to win on the LET since Gillian Stewart won the IBM European Open at the Belfry in 1984.
But there are a strong contingent of players who could still pose a threat, including the two Australians Katherine Hull and Tamie Durdin, who had best of day 66s in the third round of the tournament. It was not a great day for the defending champion Karrie Webb, who had a two-over-par 74 to sit at three-under-par total. But the five-time tournament champion knows the layout like the back of the hand whereas Yang is an unknown quantity. Tomorrow looks set to be a battle of youth versus experience with two teenage amateurs, Joh and Yang, as well as Kreutz, playing in the final group together.