South Korean Hye In Yeom (pictured above) and Kusuma Meechai of Thailand (below) claimed a share of the lead at 12 under par heading into the final round of the Xiamen International Ladies Open at the Orient (Xiamen) Golf and Country Club in China.
Yeom, 23, from Incheon, fired three birdies and an eagle on the front nine before picking up three more birdies and a bogey on the back nine in a third round of seven-under par.
Meechai, 20, from Bangkok, joined Yeom at the top of the leader board after a five under par round of 67, which included seven birdies and two bogeys. The duo are two shots clear of Gwladys Nocera, who double bogeyed the par-4 16th to slip back to 10 under par.
Yeom is in her fifth season as a professional and searching for her first title. The second grade university student, who plays mainly on the Korean LPGA Tour, recorded her career best finish of sixth in last year’s Hyundai China Ladies Open at Mission Hills Shenzhen, a tournament which was co-sanctioned by the tours. She will not put any pressure on herself heading into the final round and said: “I didn’t expect to play this well but my irons and putting were good and everything was working well. Chipping in for eagle on the eighth gave me a boost.”
Co-leader Meechai is in her third year on the China LPGA Tour and has the experience of winning her sole title at the 2013 Wuhai Ladies Classic. Although she has struggled with her swing and the mental side of the game this season, she said: “I enjoyed the game today and I didn’t feel any pressure. Every part of my game was good.”
On a day of warm and overcast weather which were perfect for low scoring, Nocera bogeyed the second but picked up shots on holes six, 10, 12 and 15 to regain a share of the lead. She found a bunker and then hit a tree on 16 that led to a double-bogey six, but remains in contention for a 15th Ladies European Tour title in the co-sanctioned event with the China LPGA Tour.
Halfway co-leader Jing Yan, 19, is tied for fourth place with Australian Stacey Keating on nine under par and the defending champion Ssu-Chia Cheng is only five shots from the lead.
With an eight under par 64, the 17-year-old rookie equalled the course record set in 2006 by Jiyai Shin and she shares sixth place with fellow Chinese Taipei player Tzu-Chi Lin, the top ranked LET rookie Nanna Koertz Madsen from Denmark and the recent ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters champion Beth Allen from the United States.