GOLD COAST, Australia -- Reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion So Yeon Ryu shot a 3-under-par 69 on Saturday to take a three-stroke lead into the final round of the Australian Ladies Masters.
Ryu, who shot an extraordinary 11-under 61 in the second round, had a 54-hole total of 20-under 196 at Royal Pines. But a day after firing her blistering 61, South Korean Ryu had her worst day of the tournament so far with bogeys on the first and ninth slowing her pace considerably.
Christel Boeljon of the Netherlands shot 68 and was alone in second, followed by Kim Ha-neul of South Korea, who shot a 64 that included an eagle on the 18th hole, and Diana Luna of Italy, who carded a 66. They were tied for third, five strokes behind the leader.
American-born Australian Frances Bondad was the biggest mover of the day, shooting a career-best 63. She was in reach fifth place, seven strokes behind Ryu.
“I sort of lost track of how low I was shooting midway through the back nine,” said Bondad, who has lived in Australia since she was 3. “It was a pretty good round and it sets me up well for Sunday.”
Bondad, a Ladies European Tour regular who won her first tour event last year in China, birdied her last five holes.
Laura Davies of England shot a 70 and was at 213, 17 strokes behind Ryu.
Nikki Campbell and Lee Bo-mee, who began the day tied for third, could today only manage matching rounds of 70 and fell back into a tie for sixth place.
Teenager Lydia Ko went round in 69 for a second straight day to sit in a tie for 16th place on 8 under par. The 14-year-old New Zealand amateur became the youngest winner of a professional tour event with victory in the New South Wales Open last week.
Among the Americans in the field, Amelia Lewis is tied for eighth, nine shots back, after a 70, while Danielle Kang is tied for 12th, 11 shots off the pace, after a 66. Lexi Thompson struggled to a 72 and is tied for 19th, while Stacy Lewis carded a 67 to move up into a tie for 24th. Amanda Blumenherst is tied for 32nd after a 70, while Chrsitina Kim is tied for 65th after her second straight 74.
Seven-time Ladies Masters champion Karrie Webb is not playing this week and will start her 2012 season next week at the Women’s Australian Open, which is co-sanctioned by the LPGA Tour.