VIKKI Laing remained on course to secure one of the biggest cheques of her career as former Scottish Women’s champion Heather Stirling stepped up her bid to bolster the Tartan Army on next season’s Ladies European Tour.
While American Stacy Lewis, holding a two-shot lead, is in a strong position to add the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters to the Women’s British Open title she claimed earlier this year, Laing continued to give a good account of herself in the third round at the Emirates Golf Club.
A three-under-par 69 moved the Musselburgh woman to six-under-par for the tournament and, though she has five shots to make up on Lewis, Laing is sitting a commendable joint-third heading into the final circuit. For the second day running, the Scot signed for an eagle-3 at the third and, after birdies at the seventh and eighth had been offset by dropped shots at the fourth and ninth, she signed off a flawless back nine by making a birdie-4 at the last.
“I’m happy with the way it went today,” said Laing. “I hit a lot of fairways and greens, just tried to stay patient and made some putts. If you’d offered me this position heading into the final round, I’d haven taken it.”
One ahead at the start of the day, world No 3 Lewis made three birdies and one bogey in her 70 to take a two-shot lead over Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum (69), with Italy’s Diana Luna and Spaniard Carlota Ciganda sitting alongside Laing. “It’s always hard to follow up a day like I had yesterday, especially on the greens. But I’m right where I need to be going into tomorrow,” said Lewis, who is playing her first event in Dubai.
After her promising start, Pamela Pretswell heads into the final round sitting 44th after a 76, two more than Kylie Walker signed for as she climbed eight places to 50th.
Meanwhile, Stirling is sharing the lead at the halfway stage in her LET Q-School pre-qualifier in Morocco, where Sally Watson and Jane Turner are also still in contention to progress to next week’s final stage.
Covering the last seven holes in three-under, Stirling carded a one-over-par 73 in the second round on the Blue Course at Royal Dar Es Salam in Rabat to sit alongside Ireland’s Tara Delaney and Finnish amateur Krista Bakker. Turner is just outside the top ten after a 79 for 156.
On the Red Course, Watson cemented second spot after a 75, but Laura Murray slipped more than 20 places to 32nd after a damaging 86.