Germany’s Caroline Masson takes a two-shot lead into the final round of the Women’s British Open with defending champion and world No. 1 Yani Tseng lurking as her nearest challenger.
Halfway leader Masson fired a 68 to reach 15-under-par, but Taiwan’s Tseng recorded a best-of-day 66, which included a 70-foot putt for an eagle three at the 14th.
Tseng, who won at Royal Birkdale last year, made her move from the turn. She birdied the 10th, 11th and 13th, before rolling home the monster eagle putt. She then made another birdie at the long 17th to be home in 30.
“I played awesome,” the 22-year-old four-time major winner said. “I feel really good and I’m very excited about tomorrow.”
However, Tseng admitted she had never heard of Masson until yesterday.
“I asked my caddy: ‘Who’s that?’ But there are so many good players that I’m not too surprised she is up there,” she said.
Taiwan’s Candie Kung finished strong with birdies on the 17th and 18th to card a 69 to move to two-under.
However, compatriot Amy Hung had a tough day on the Canoustie Golf Links. She began the day at three-under, but double-boogies on the 12th and 18th contributed to her six-over 78.
Meanwhile, Briton Catriona Matthew (68), the 2009 champion, and South Korea’s Park Inbee (73), the 2008 US Women’s Open Champion, shared third place on nine-under-par.
On a day when tricky pin positions and a stiff breeze saw a number of players fall out of contention, 22-year-old Masson grew in strength. She did three-putt the opening hole for bogey, but then picked up six birdies before dropping another shot at the 18th.
“I really enjoyed it today, but I still can’t really believe it,” said Masson, who has had seven top-10 finishes in two years on the Ladies’ European Tour.
“I came here this week maybe hoping to make the top 20, but with no real expectations of winning, but now I’m excited,” she said. “I am so looking forward to playing with Yani. She is the best player in the world and I know I will learn a lot from her.”
Scot Matthew thrilled the home gallery with a 68 and also knows how to win at Carnoustie.
Twenty years ago, aged 21, Matthew on the Scottish Amateur Championship over the famous links.
“It helps that I know the course, but I think Yani and Caroline feel pretty happy here now too,” she said with a smile. “But I think it going to be windier tomorrow and that could suit me. It’s also great to have the crowd on your side, especially when the putts are dropping for birdies.”
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STAFF WRITER