Australian teen Minjee Lee is in contention for her second title in as many weeks after another red-hot round in the women’s Australian Open.
The 17-year-old amateur last week finished runner-up at the Australian Ladies Masters on the Gold Coast and now has the national crown within reach.
The West Australian showed talent and composure beyond her years to post a third round 68 which included a 10m bomb on the 16th among her five birdies at Victoria Golf Club.
She is joint leader with Korean Chella Choi at 13 under.
No amateur has ever won the Australian Open and only five have ever won LPGA titles.
Lee, who in 2012 became the first Australian ever to win the US Girls Junior title, said she didn’t feel any pressure leading the field into the final round.
“I’m pretty cruisey on the golf course; I don’t really show much emotion, I just smile all the time which lightens things up,” she said.
At Royal Pines Lee was third heading into the final day but couldn’t catch American Cheyenne Woods.
Lee has plenty of competition for the Open title including Choi, who set a women’s course record on the sandbelt course with a dazzling 10-under 62 in her third round.
New Zealand’s 16-year-old world No.4 Lydia Ko and world No.2 Norwegian Suzann Pettersen are both within striking distance at 11- and 10-under respectively.
Ko thrilled the gallery late in her round of 69 with a gob-smacking eagle at the par-five 17th.
Swede Caroline Hedwall, who led heading into the third day, had four bogeys in five holes for a two-over round to slip down the leaderboard to nine under.
There are 15 golfers within five shots which will make for an exciting final day.
Choi’s 62 was the lowest score of her professional career and came just a day after Sweden’s Anna Norqvist eclipsed the previous mark on the par 72 course with a 64.
Playing in ideal conditions, the world No. 28 had two eagles and seven birdies in her haul; one of the eagles coming on her final hole.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever had two eagles in a round,” said the 23-year-old.
“I don’t know why I have 10-under today, it was just amazing.”
It was an even more stunning effort after Choi carded 70 and 71 in her opening two rounds.