Laura Fuenfstueck dug deep to keep her name at the top of the leader board but home favourite Carlota Ciganda is two shots back heading into the final round of the Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open at Golf Club Terramar in Sitges, near Barcelona.
Fuenfstueck started the third round with a three-stroke advantage at six-under-par and birdied the second and fifth holes, building a five stroke lead. The 24-year-old from Langen, Germany, then birdied the seventh but bogeyed the 11th to drop to eight-under. Ciganda then joined her after four birdies and an eagle in her first 12 holes.
Fuenfstueck showed nerves of steel to bounce back with a birdie on the long 12th hole, regaining a one-stroke advantage. She then birdied the 14th to reach 10-under.
Ciganda had previously birdied the 14th, but made her first bogey of the day on the picturesque par-3 15th, having chipped short of the hole and two-putted.
She made another birdie on the par-5 16th, but found the sand off the tee on the par-3 17th, resulting in another bogey.
Fuenfstueck had further chances, lipping out from short range on 17 and then rolling her birdie putt past the hole on 18.
“I had two lip-outs but some of the earlier putts that I made evened it out,” said the 24-year-old, from Langen, Germany, looking for her first professional title.
“I think the greens are rolling perfectly. Once I see the lines, I can walk up to the putt and know I’ve got it. Hopefully that continues tomorrow.”
Fuenfstueck said that she was aware – and expected – the Spanish Solheim Cup player to surge up the leaderboard. She had watched Ciganda in the Solheim Cup and played with her father, Jesus Ciganda, in the Pro-Am.
“Carlota was two-under at the beginning of the day and I knew someone was going to charge at me, probably her, so I’m quite happy I’m still two ahead and I can’t wait to go out tomorrow.”
Europe’s top-ranked player at 12th on the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, Ciganda was pleased with her six-under 65.
The 29-year-old from Pamplona said: “I played pretty well today and made lots of birdies out there. I made some really good putts and missed a short one, but I made an eagle and three-under on each nine. I’m very happy with the score and right there for tomorrow.
“The course was very difficult and when I practised the first days, I thought the scores would be pretty high and 10 to 12-under would win it. You have to be very patient out there to make as few mistakes as possible.
“I would love to win. Playing in Spain is always special and my family and friends are here, the club is really nice, so hopefully I can get that win for them tomorrow.”
Finland’s Sanna Nuutinen is three strokes back at five-under-par and will play in the final group. The last round will broadcast internationally and live streamed on Sunday from 12-3pm Spanish time.