South Africa’s three ladies contesting the Dubai Ladies Masters at Emirates Golf Club on Saturday all finished the day within two shots of another, with the group’s leader Ashleigh Simon fairing the worst after a brilliant start, which saw her rise to a tournament high of six-under par, with three birdies in the first four holes of the event’s third day.
But a double-bogey on at the fifth flag precipitated an unbroken string of seven bogeys in the following 13 holes, and Simon ended the day carding a 6-over par 78, her three rounds costing a three-over par 219, 12 shots behind the desert Masters’ third overnight leader, Denmark’s Iben Tinning
In a group of five including Laurette Maritz, Stacy Lee Bregman’s consistency paid dividends seeing her rise above Maritz on the overnight leaderboard for the first time in the tournament, her sole concession on the day a double-bogey also at the fifth flag redeemed by a faultless round to follow, and birdie on the 10th.
Maritz also carded a one-over-par 73 for the day, and her birdie at the 10th flag was followed by two bogeys on the last nine, after a clean-sheets front nine, to follow the leader by 14 shots for a share of 39th place.
Meanwhile, third-round leader Tinning moved a step closer to claiming her first victory in more than two years, when she took a one-shot lead after the third round of the Dubai Ladies Masters at Emirates Golf Club on Saturday.
The 32-year-old from Copenhagen shot a five-under-par 67 for a nine-under-par total of 207, one shot ahead of Sweden’s Annika Sorenstam, Italy’s Veronica Zorzi and England’s Laura Davies.
The next best player was first-round leader Louise Stahle from Sweden on five-under. Scot Catriona Matthew shared sixth place with South Korean teenager Amy Yang on four-under-par.
Overnight leader Lisa Hall from England had a 77 in the trickier wind conditions and dropped back into joint eighth position on three-under-par alongside three others.
Tinning is aiming for her sixth career win in the final round on Sunday after two victories in 2002, at the Irish and Italian Opens, and three victories in 2005 – in Spain, Italy and Denmark.
"I’ve got no expectations of myself. I’ll just try and go out there and make as many birdies as I can," said Tinning. "I don’t know if I have to have a great start to win because every day I’ve come back really nicely. Whatever happens, happens."
Davies, who is one of four players within a shot of the lead, had a round of 71, which was a rollercoaster even by her own standards.
She had built a two stroke lead after an eagle, a birdie and a bogey in her first 10 holes but took a triple bogey eight at the par-five 15th when she hit her second shot into the water right of the green.
Having taken a drop she then duffed her chip back into the water, resulting in the eight that took her back to six-under-par and three strokes behind the leaders. However she recovered well with birdies at the 15th and 18th holes.
Sorenstam, who had a bogey-free 68, was pleased to have recorded four birdies and made some progress on moving day. She said: "I was pleased with my round and I feel like I hit some good shots today. I think the practise on the technical side this morning helped."
She revealed that she had received some advice from her coach before the round and was working on keeping her shoulders square and her hips slightly open through impact: "I feel like I’ve still got some work to do but I’m hitting some good shots and that’s what matters," she said.
Italy’s Zorzi carded a 70 and she said, "I missed a few putts but I feel good and will hope for the best tomorrow."