Gemma Dryburgh takes route 66 up Women's Scottish Open leaderboard

Gemma Dryburgh took route 66 to provide conclusive proof on home soil that she’s now feeling confident of being able to mix it with the best in the women’s game.

Lydia Ko reacts to almost holing her third shot at the par-5 18th at Dundonald Links. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images.
Lydia Ko reacts to almost holing her third shot at the par-5 18th at Dundonald Links. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images.

The 29-year-old’s six-under-par effort at Dundonald Links was the joint-best score of the day in the third round of the $2 million Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open.

It lifted her from 55th at the halfway point to joint-18th heading into the final circuit on the Ayrshire coast, where seven of the world’s top 10 started out in the event’s strongest-ever field.

On eight-under, Dryburgh sits seven shots off the lead, which is being shared by New Zealand’s Lydia Ko and Frenchwoman Celine Boutier.

Gemma Dryburgh and her caddie talk over a shot during the third round of the Trust Golf Women's Scottish Open at Dundonald Links. Picture: Trust Golf Women's Scottish Open

The Aberdonian needs more of the same to give herself a chance of landing a stunning breakthrough win on both the LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour, but there’s no denying that her confidence is at an all-time high.

“They say Saturday is moving day, so a good round,” said Dryburgh of her day’s work. “I haven't done that this year, so that was nice.”

By her own admission, the Scot felt out of her depth in her first season on the LPGA but not any more. She’s only missed two cuts this season and has been throwing in low ones every now and again.

“Yeah, definitely,” she admitted to this effort being a sign of feeling at home on the biggest stages in the women’s game. “It's nice to see you're playing well and actually see it kind of come into a good score. It gives me lots of confidence for tomorrow.”

Out in one-under after starting at the tenth, the New Orleans-based player produced a birdie-eagle-birdie burst from the fourth before signing off with a birdie to come home in 31 in a wee breeze.

The eagle was from 81 feet. “Yeah, that was cool,” said Dryburgh, smiling. “It was a little firm, but went in perfectly, happy days. I then holed a bunker shot on the next that was going perfect speed. Nice to see a few putts drop as well today. Felt like I haven't made much the last few days but felt like it was coming.”

Ko, who finished second to American Ryann O’Toole at Dumbarnie Links 12 months ago, started the day with a two-shot lead after negotiating the opening 36 holes without a bogey.

Her run was ended as early as the par-5 third in the third circuit and then lost the lead before almost holing out for an eagle at the last, signing for a 71, to sit alongside Boutier after her polished 67.

Two-time major winner Ko admitted she’d made a “couple careless mistakes” but is still feeling quietly confident about landing the $300,000 first prize before turning her attention to the AIG Women’s Open, the season’s final major, at Muirfield.

“It wasn't the best golf but I managed my way around and I still feel like there were a lot of positives,” said the 25-year-old, who remains the player to beat.

Canadian Maude-Aimee Leblanc (66) and German Leonie Harm (67) both sit one shot off the lead, with American Lilia Vu and Korean Eun-Hee Ji a stroke further back.

Kylie Henry, the other home player to make the cut, sits on one-over after a 75.

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