Gabriella Cowley fired a fine 67 to hold a one-shot lead going into the final round of the ISPS Handa World Invitational at Galgorm Castle on Saturday.
The Englishwoman began the day two shots behind the leader and got off to a good start with birdies on the second, fourth and eighth holes.
Cowley dropped a shot on the 10th but rolled in back-to-back birdies on 11 and 12 and made another on 14.
The 27-year-old then had another bogey on the 15th but made a birdie on 17 to seal a round of 67 and move to the top of the leaderboard on six-under.
“Obviously, it’s great,” said Cowley, who is in search of a maiden LET title. “Today was just a really good day. I felt really in control and just really enjoyed it.
“I thought the course set-up today was great. There is still rain and wind, but it just wasn’t as severe, and the course wasn’t playing as tough and as long. The rough just seemed to actually not settle down as much. It’s still thick, but it just didn’t seem to nestle down as much today. There were a few more birdie chances today.
“It’s what we wish for to lead a tournament and things we want to do as much as we can, so I think I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing. I’m playing well, so just see what happens.
“Me and my caddie Ben, we’re such close friends. We have been friends for a while now. He just makes me laugh all day. I just feel really relaxed and it’s just a bit of a different feeling. Usually, my dad is here and he does a great job, too, but it’s just nice for someone to be doing all the work and me just hitting the shots.
“I quite like playing against the guys and being at the same venues as them. I feel like I can learn quite a lot from them, and just understanding what sort of shots they like to play and how they do things. These weeks are a bit more open minded and a bit more relaxed. Tomorrow I’m just hoping it’s a late tee off so I can watch the football!”
— Ladies European Tour (@LETgolf) August 19, 2023
American Ryann O’Toole and Germany’s Esther Henseleit sit in a share of second place on five-under at Galgorm.
Switzerland’s Kim Metraux sits in solo fourth place on four-under-par after producing a round of 69 (-3).
Four players are in a tie for fifth place with England’s Bronte Law, American Alexa Pano, Germany’s Olivia Cowan and Switzerland’s Albane Valenzuela all on two-under-par.
While Korea’s Soo Bin Joo and Wales’ Chloe Williams round out the top 10 on one-under-par with one round remaining.
In the co-santioned DP World Tour men’s competition, England’s Dan Brown maintained his six-shot advantage and leads with a total of 14-under-par ahead of England’s Alex Fitzpatrick and South Africa’s Wilco Nienaber.