Reto so close before closing hole stymies AIG Women’s Open charge

Paula Reto had a spot inside the top 20 in the AIG Women’s Open in her sights as she went up the 18th on Saturday before a double-bogey six on the last hole at Carnoustie saw her slip to a share of 33rd.

The South African had worked like a Trojan after bogeys on three and five had seen her reach the turn at level-par. She had immediately bounced back with birdies both times she dropped, and she started the back nine with a birdie on 10. Another on 13 saw her move to four-under.

She missed out on a birdie opportunity on the par-five 14th, at which point the scoring opportunities on Carnoustie run out. And then, negotiating Barry Burn and the toughest of finishing holes in just about all of golf proved a little too much, and the double bogey undid all of the good work she had put in.

Well, not all the good work. She is the only South African left in the field after the 36-hole cut, and she has already shown her mettle ahead of the final round. Another good showing in the quiet zone ahead of the leaders battling it out can giver he the opportunity to post yet another good finish in a tournament in which she has flown under the radar. She has proved she belongs.

Up ahead, Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist and Nanna Koerstz Madsen from Denmark share the lead on nine-under-par after impressive rounds in challenging, wet conditions. Nordqvist signed for a best-of-the-week score of seven-under-par 65 to surge through the field, while Koerstz Madsen added a third-round 68 for her nine-under total.

Nordqvist was in sparkling form in her bogey-free round, which was kick-started with three birdies in a row from the sixth. The 34-year-old, a past winner of the R&A Girls’ and Women’s Amateur Championships, has enjoyed local support given her partner is a Scot, Kevin McAlpine.

While Nordqvist is chasing a third major title, Koerstz Madsen, 26, is seeking the biggest win of her career and highlighted her round with an eagle at the par-five 12th.

The United States’ Yealimi Noh had reached 10-under-par only to drop four shots over Carnoustie’s demanding last three holes, meaning the consistent Lizette Salas is the nearest challenger to the top two after the American added a 70 for an eight-under-par total.

Four players are placed on seven-under-par, including Scottish amateur Louise Duncan after the 21-year-old Women’s Amateur champion continued her dream week after a superb 68.

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