Meadow continues brilliant showing in California

Irish amateur cards 71 in third round of opening women’s major

Stephanie Meadow  hits her tee shot on the fifth hole during the third round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club  in Rancho Mirage, California. Photograph: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Stephanie Meadow hits her tee shot on the fifth hole during the third round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California. Photograph: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Sun, Apr 7, 2013, 03:24

Irish amateur golfer Stephanie Meadow continued her brilliant showing in the first women’s professional major of the season after carding a one-under-par 71 in the third round at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in California.

It left the 21-year-old from Jordanstown in a tie for 39th place on one over alongside the world’s leading amateur, New Zealand teenager Lydia Ko, who also shot a 71.

Meadow, ranked 11th in the amateur world rankings, made the cut on two over par, but four bogeys in her first seven holes pushed her out to six over at the Mission Hills course.

The Curtis Cup star bounced back in spectacular fashion though, making five birdies over the final 10 holes, including two in her last three holes.

South Korea’s Inbee Park has a second major title in her sights after building a three-shot lead to carry into the final round.

The 2008 US Women’s Open champion tamed the course with a 67 for the second day in a row to surge to 12 under par.

That put her comfortably ahead of her nearest challenger, American Lizette Salas, who herself held a three-shot cushion over a group of six players tied for third on six under: Norway’s Suzann Pettersen, US players Angela Stanford and Jessica Korda, Australian Karrie Webb, France’s Karine Icher and Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum.

Stanford signed for a best-of-the-day six-under 66, and anyone hoping to challenge 24-year-old Park over the final 18 holes will almost certainly need to shoot similarly low.

Korda, who carded a 68, is the daughter of former tennis grand slam winner Petr Korda, who triumphed at the Australian Open in 1998.