Leona Maguire set for leading amateur title at British Open

The 22-year-old fired a third consecutive under par round at Kingsbarns on Saturday

Amateur Leona Maguire of Ireland tees off on the 2nd hole during the third round of the Ricoh Women's British Open at Kingsbarns Golf Links. Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images

Amateur Leona Maguire of Ireland tees off on the 2nd hole during the third round of the Ricoh Women's British Open at Kingsbarns Golf Links. Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images

 

Ireland’s Leona Maguire is well-set to retain her silver salvar for leading amateur at the Women’s British Open after a third round of 70 left her at six under with one round to go.

The 22-year-old goes into the final round in a tie for 22nd as South Korea’s IK Kim took a hold of the championship after a late collapse from England’s Georgia Hall.

Kim carded a third round of 66 at Kingsbarns to finish 17 under par, six shots ahead of Hall and Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn, with Olympic champion Inbee Park and American Ally McDonald a shot further back.

World number one amateur Maguire carded a third consecutive under par round among the professionals and will be particularly pleased with the fact that she went around without making a bogey.

However, she will feel that she could have made a bit more of a charge after getting off to a quick start with birdies at the second and sixth. However, 12 pars in a row would follow from there, leaving her eight shots ahead of My Leander – the only other amateur to make the cut.

In the final group of the day there was drama to finish after six birdies in the first 12 holes had taken Kim into a six-shot lead only for playing partner Hall — who had earlier driven the green on the fifth to set up an eagle — to birdie the 13th, 14th and 15th.

However, Hall then bogeyed the 16th and four-putted the 17th for a double-bogey six to card a two-under-par 70, her highest score of the week.

“I played a lot better than two under, just on 17 I could hardly see the green,” Hall, 21, told Sky Sports.

“I thought I hit a good shot but ended up with a very hard putt and the green is so steep. I had a six-footer and had to aim two feet right and missed that and then had a three-footer, downhill left to right and missed that.

“But I played a lot of good golf out there. If I can get off to a good start again and have a strong last six holes I have a chance.”

Kim has won twice on the LPGA Tour this season but is perhaps still best known for missing a one-foot putt to win the Kraft Nabisco Championship — now called the ANA Inspiration — in 2012.

That forced the 29-year-old into a play-off with Sun-Young Yoo, which Yoo won with a birdie on the first extra hole.

Jutanugarn, who could succeed her younger sister Ariya as the champion, moved through the field with a 67 which was eclipsed by a course record-equalling 64 from 2015 winner Park.

Park, who was unable to defend her title last year due to injury, raced to the turn in 31 and picked up three more shots on the back nine in a bogey-free round which was almost matched by playing partner Stacy Lewis, who returned a 65.

“I hadn’t putted that well the first two days but they cut the greens a little more today and they were a bit faster and suited perfectly to my putter,” Park said.

“I was able to hole a lot of putts.

“I haven’t been striking the ball well but a couple of things clicked this week and I started to get some confidence back.”

Lewis, who won at St Andrews in 2013, credited her mother with a putting tip which helped her birdie the last four holes and end the day eight shots off the pace on nine under.

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