Beth Allen battles to stay in Australian title hunt

Edinburgh-based American Beth Allen is sitting in the top 20 after three rounds at Royal Adelaide. Picture: Tristan Jones

Edinburgh-based American Beth Allen is sitting in the top 20 after three rounds at Royal Adelaide. Picture: Tristan Jones

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Edinburgh-based American golfer Beth Allen battled strong winds to remain in contention at the ISPS Handa Australian Open at Royal Adelaide

With wind gusts of more than 50km/h, only a dozen players managed to break par in the third round at Royal Adelaide in the South Australian capital.

LPGA debutants Gemma Dryburgh (+3) and Michele Thomson (+4) both failed to break 80 after each starting the day at four-under.

Allen, who also started the round at four-under, fared better than most to finish with a 75 to be two-under overall and in a tie for 22nd.

American Lizette Salas leads on 10-under from Australians Sarah Jane Smith and Sue Oh and Thailand’s Phatlum Pornanong on -8.

Allen describe the conditions as “tricky” but said she was feeling confident going into the final round.

“I actually felt more comfortable today than I have all week – I just got a little bit unlucky out there a few times but I think if I have a decent day tomorrow it will still be a pretty good finish,” she said.

“I was pretty good off the tee today and I hit a lot of putts that I thought were good but just didn’t go in.

“I hit some pretty bad iron shots but it was tricky out there and that stuff happens.

“I just didn’t recover as well as I would have liked but all in all it’s not a disaster.”

After winning the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit last year, Allen is set to play regularly on the LPGA Tour this season.

“It’s going to be a change but I’m looking forward to it,” the 35-year-old said.

“I’m just going to see how I go and if I enjoy it – that’s the main thing – and if I don’t then I’ve always got Europe so that’s good.”

Thomson started her round with a double bogey and finished with a triple bogey to be in a tie for 63rd on +4.

“It was tough out there today with the wind but it was a bit of a bad start and it just kind of tumbled from there,” the Aberdeen resident said.

“I’m still excited to be here and hopefully tomorrow can be better.”

Dryburgh also made a poor start, dropping five shots in the first eight holes before finishing in a tie for 56th at +3.

“I didn’t hit it well and the wind kind of exaggerated my bad shots so I struggled a bit today,” she said.

“But I’ve still got another day to fight back and hopefully move up the leaderboard again.”

Salas described her 2-under 71 today as “boring golf”.“Even par was under par today, it was hard and I just made it simple,” the Californian said.

“I’m very pleased I stayed present and stayed patient overall and I just kept smiling out there.”

Oh shot the low round for the day – a 5-under 68 to put herself in contention.

“I mean, there are still 18 holes to go, I can’t quite think yet, but it’s my national title, so I really want to fight for it,” the 20-year-old said.

“It’s going to be tough but it would mean a lot. It also would be my first win on the LPGA.”

Thailand’s Aiya Jutanugarn shot a solid 71 this morning to reach 4-under and is the only player apart from Salas to have broken par on all three days.

Defending champion Haru Nomura from Japan has also made a third round move, shooting 69 to reach 6-under.

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