Momentum is golf’s great intangible and Minjee Lee did well to stay in touch of the Women’s British Open without her share in the third round.
Lee will begin the final round just three strokes behind Pornanong Phatlum who, at -13, leads Georgia Hall by one.
The lead pair finally succumbed for their first bogeys of the week on the back nine at Royal Lytham and St Anne’s, possibly signifying nerves were beginning to play a part after both – particularly England’s Hall – made some incredible par saves.
And with that slight wobble, major champions So Yeon Ryu and Sung Hyun Park took their opportunity to seize momentum and surge to 11 and 10 under, respectively.
As the leaders pushed early, Ryu made a couple of uncharacteristic bogeys that appeared to stretch her chances to near breaking point.
But the Korean was nothing short of stunning in peeling off birdies on six of eight holes from the fifth to roar up the leaderboard.
Park, her mercurial countrywoman, also found that momentum late to pull into a share of fourth with Lee, who had 30 hot minutes with three birdies from the fourth to the sixth, but was otherwise stymied by a cool putter and some visits to the famous Lancashire links course’s penal bunkers.
One of those came off her drive on the final hole, ending in a bogey for a round of 71 that accurately represented her fight to find the momentum that jumped all around the final groups, but rarely to hers.
Still, at just three back, Lee will still like her chances of winning her first major championship and continue her surge up the world rankings, in which she’s currently No.8.
Of the other Australians, Su Oh had a rollercoaster ride with four bogeys each followed almost immediately by a birdie in her par round of 72 that left her T34 at one under overall.
Rebecca Artis and Hannah Green each carded rounds of 76 with major championship nerves costing both early in their rounds and leaving them at +3 and +5, respectively.