Ashleigh Buhai got it to four-under on Saturday in the third round of the LPGA Drive On Championship at Golden Ocala in Florida, but she had to surrender all of those shots as she made four bogeys coming home in tough weather conditions.
However, after her level-par round of 72, she is still inside the top 10 going into the final round of the tournament. She is at four-under in a share of eighth, with the lead belonging to Austin Ernst of the United States at 13-under. She is one clear of Jennifer Kupcho.
The weather played a big role in scores for the day, and Buhai had to cope with rainy weather followed by swirling wind as the rain died down. She got things going quickly with a birdie on the first, and two more on three and eight had her turning in three-under and well in the mix. Another birdie on the 10th seemed to indicate that she was well on her way, but she dropped on 11, 13, 14 and 16.
“That back nine played so tough today,” she said. “The wind was swirling. I don’t feel I actually hit a bad shot on the back nine. It was just a case of we played for wind, it died, and then didn’t play for it and it picked up. So it was frustrating when you don’t feel like you’ve hit bad shots and you make bogeys, but when I looked at the leaderboard I couldn’t believe I was still top 10, to be honest.
“It was a bit easier playing when it was just raining. There wasn’t wind. It was constant rain and very playable. It was soft. Once that wind picked up it was just coming out of all directions.”
Kupcho made a 12-foot eagle putt on the final hole to cut Ernst’s lead to a stroke. Ernst parred the last six holes in a 69.