Germany’s Caroline Masson moved a step closer to her second victory on the Ladies European Tour this season when she fired a two-under-par 70 to lead after a hot and windy third round of the Tenerife Open de España Femenino on Saturday.
The recent South African Women’s Open champion was clearly at home in the tough conditions as she fired four birdies and two bogeys at Golf Las Américas for an eight under total to lead by a stroke from Australian Stacey Keating with France’s Joanna Klatten a stroke further behind in third position.
Masson said: “It was pretty tough. The wind was way stronger than the last days and we were in trouble on second it started and then pretty much every hole there were many, many rulings, lots of time, we were on the clock so I was a little stressed out sometimes. I’m glad I could finish two under. I think that’s a good score in the wind and I’m just happy with my situation for tomorrow.”
It was breezy when Masson won in South Africa in mid July and she added: “If it’s windy, it always makes it difficult but it’s about playing the right shot at the right time and shaping shots and I am able to shape it. If you are playing well, the wind doesn’t really matter.”
Masson birdied the first and had a good break on the second when she was given free relief from a water pipe under a palm tree and made a solid par.
She dropped a shot at the sixth but immediately recovered with a birdie at the seventh before encountering the palm trees once again on nine resulting in a bogey there.
After being put on the clock, Masson made birdie putts from four and five feet respectively at the 11th and the 12th and she admitted: “I was a little stressed to be on the clock but I made a nice drive on 11 which settled me down.”
Keating also had a 70. She played the front nine in level par and then double bogeyed the par-three 11th before making four birdies in her last six holes.
At six under after a 72, Klatten is also in the hunt for her maiden LET title and she revealed that recent work with her coach, Cédric Doucet, was starting to pay off.
“I definitely feel a lot more confident and I’m striking it a lot better. Every part of my game has improved compared to last year so it’s nice and it’s definitely easier that way,” Klatten said.
Fellow Frenchwoman Celine Palomar (73) remained in contention on five under alongside halfway leader Nikki Garrett of Australia, who shot a 74.
Tania Elosegui is the leading Spanish player in a tie for 12thon two under with LET rookie Carlota Ciganda tied for 16th on one under par.
Both Masson and Ciganda have a chance to take the lead on the LET’s ISPS Handa Order of Merit setting up a scintillating final round battle, but Masson said: “I’m not thinking about that because it’s going to be a long day tomorrow, especially if it gets windy. I know about it, but it’s a consequence of good play.”
photos Janos Schmidt