French youngster Celine Boutier will take a five-shot lead into today’s final round of the Australian Ladies Classic Bonville, but the chasers are confident she won’t have it easy.
Starting yesterday’s round two behind overnight leader, Briton Holly Clyburn, the diminutive 24-year-old played flawless golf to put daylight between herself and the field in this Ladies European Tour-sanctioned event.
In a field where experts suggest the title might be lifted by either Clyburn or Australian Hannah Green – who started as tournament favourite – Boutier simply got on with the job of racking up birdies in conditions which tested even the veterans.
“Celine played fantastic out there. She did not miss anything. I didn’t expect her to go out there and shoot 67 at all, in these conditions. It was her day,” said Clyburn, who started the third round at -8 but slipped back into a share of second with a disappointing two-over 74.
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“I’m in touching distance, you don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I’m hoping that she (Boutier) doesn’t do that (again) tomorrow and that I get the rub of the green. We’ll just wait and see.”
Boutier said she wouldn’t change her strategy despite holding a big lead.
“My strategy has been working very well. And I think the girls can shoot very low, so I don’t think I should be too conservative,” the 24-year-old said.
Australians Hannah Green (-4) and Rebecca Artis (-3) are within striking distance, but Green will need her putter working to have a chance at this inaugural title.
“The bogeys have come because I’ve been three-putting, which is quite unusual. I’m usually more consistent, but I’m glad I’m making this many birdies. Hopefully, the scorecard will be a little cleaner (today),” the West Australian said.
The 22-year-old still has the confidence she can win.
“If you want to win, you have to believe you can,” she said.
Artis has won from this distance before, and is confident she can apply some pressure.
“I’m not too far back … I can win from there. I’ve won from there before. I won in Scotland from six back, and I won in Sweden from six back. I’ll just go out and see if I can get it going and put some pressure on during the back nine,” the 29-year-old said.
Catch all the action in today’s final round LIVE on Fox Sports More – CH507 from 1pm.
LEADERBOARD (after third round)
1: Boutier, Celine – 11
2: Clyburn, Holly – 6
T3: Burnett, Katie -5
T3: Holmqvist, Daniela – 5
T3: Cowan, Olivia – 5
T3: Jonsdottir, Valdis – 5
7: Green, Hannah – 4
T8: Artis, Rebecca – 3
T8: Madsen, Nanna – 3
10: Parker, Florentyna – 2