Davidson dominates day three

 

Teenager Karis Davidson has become an Oates Vic Open dark horse after the stars at the top of the leader board faltered on moving day.

Davidson propelled herself into championship contention, carding a faultless six-under 67 as conditions took its toll on Saturday afternoon.

Starting the day even, Davidson navigated her way through 13th Beach’s Beach course without a bogey and moved into outright second as a result.

It’s something contenders Marianne Skarpnord (two-over), Jenny Haglund (five-over), Caroline Hedwall (seven-over) and Lin Tze-Han (six-over)  couldn’t do.

The quartet, who were right in the mix following Friday’s second round, racked up the bogeys as they found the going tough in the wind.

So did Minjee Lee, who dropped two shots on Saturday, but she was still able to maintain her spot at the top of the leader board heading into Sunday’s final round.

The quietly-spoken Davidson, who is playing her first four day tournament as a professional, admitted even she was surprised with her round.

“I had a really good round today, but I definitely wasn’t expecting to be one off the lead. My goal coming into this week was top 20,” Davidson said.

“I didn’t look at the leader board (at all during my round).

“I’m not feeling any pressure. I’m going to go out tomorrow and do my best and have fun.”

It’s been an unbelievable three months for Gold Coast-based Davidson, who won full playing rights on the Japan LPGA Tour in December.

As a result of that she turned professional and played her first event for money in Ballarat last month.

Davidson will be playing in Sunday’s final group with Lee and potentially good friend Hannah Green, who also moved up the leader board and into a tie for third thanks to a two-under round of 71.

The 18-year-old Davidson said staying fully committed to each shot regardless of what the wind was doing helped guide her into contention.

“A day like today you have to focus on every shot individually because of the wind and I think I did that well,” Davidson said.

“I wasn’t thinking ahead at all. 

“It was challenging. Sometimes I’d hit a great shot off the tee and it would go too far into a bunker. You have to trust to hit two or three clubs extra which is sometimes hard to fathom.

“I did that well today.

“(I was really happy) with just my club choices. The first two rounds I struggled with that.

“My putting was pretty good today, I holed a few good putts.”

 

 

Lee, Australia’s top ranked women’s golfer, said the tricky wind had turned her round into a “grind”.

“The wind was blowing a little bit differently today. A little bit tougher conditions,” Lee said.

“I think some of the pin placements, I think the wind was blowing away from the pins. It was a little bit tougher to get to the pins.

“The wind is crazy out there and you obviously want to play well. But you have to stay patient as well and take whatever it gives you and get on with it.”

Earlier, Cheyenne Woods’ four-under was the best round to come from the morning tee times, while Engand’s  Florentyna Parker and Thailand’s Prima Thammaraks signed off on three-under rounds.

Woods, who carded a seven-over 80 on Friday, is now within striking distance of the leaders at two-under.

Defending champion Mel Reid  finished her third round at one-under, moving back to even for the championship.

She will need to make a serious move early on Sunday morning if she wants to retain her Victorian Open crown.

Australian Sarah Kemp was three-under through two, but back-to-back bogeys on holes three and four stopped any positive momentum she was building.

A birdie on the par-five 18th saw her finish at two-under for the day and one-under for the tournament.

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