Tight finish set for Women’s Australian Open

By Andrea Petrie

A third round of 70 has put Canberra golfer Nikki Campbell in contention at the Women’s Australian Open.

Fresh from a top-10 finish last week at the Ladies Masters at Royal Pines, Campbell will enter the tournament’s final day just one shot behind leader Jessica Korda.

Despite bogeys at the ninth and 10th holes, Campbell, 31, went on to record birdies at the 11th, 12th and 18th in gusty conditions at Royal Melbourne.

She said her caddie, boyfriend Damon Welsford, told her whoever adjusted quickest to the conditions would do the best out there, which had helped her focus.

“Until today I did not feel like I was hitting the ball well. I hit it a lot better today,” she said.

She said she planned a quiet night ahead and was looking forward of the final round tomorrow.

“I think if I can control my nerves, I’ll be in with a good shot, but there’s a lot of good players up the top of that leaderboard,” she said. “Really, anyone could win this. Someone could just get on track tomorrow and shoot really low.”

Korda, whose father Petr won the Australian Open tennis championship in 1998, shot an even par 73.

“I felt like that at the start of the day but as things started going on and on, I started feeling shaky as the wind gusted towards the end of the day. I finished pretty strong and kept at level par,” Korda said. “I saw a couple of leader boards but honestly I was trying to work out everything. The wind was picking up and coming back down. I had to back off a lot of shots.”

Fifteen players are within five strokes of the lead including So Yeon Ryu and defending champion Yani Tseng at 2-under par, just two strokes behind Korda.

American Brittany Linicome and Paraguay’s Julieta Granada are both three strokes off the lead in a tie for 8th at 1-under par. Stacy Lewis, also from America, and England’s Melissa Reid recorded four-over-par 77 to tie them in 10th place.

The final round will begin at 7.47am tomorrow with the leaders teeing off at 1.10pm.

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