Friday, December 07, 2007


Gwladys Nocera from France carded a level par 72 in the third round of the EMAAR-MGF Ladies Masters in India and maintained her overnight lead - but England’s Laura Davies and France’s Virginie Lagoutte-Clement made a charge up the leaderboard to close in on her going into the final round on Saturday at the Eagleton Resort, Bangalore.
Nocera began the third round with a five-stroke lead, but it was cut to three shots after her compatriot Virginie Lagoutte-Clement fired a superb, best of week 66. Nocera finished on six-under-par 210 after 54 holes, with Lagoutte Clement in outright second on 213.
Four players share third position on 215 -recent Madrid Ladies Masters champion Martina Eberl from Germany fired a 68 to tie with England’s Lisa Hall, who had a 70, England’s Trish Johnson and Spain’s Marta Prieto, who both shot 72.
With her 66, two-time LET champion Lagoutte-Clement climbed 10 places up the leaderboard from tied 12th to second position.
Another big move came from Laura Davies who fired a sizzling five-under-par 67. The winner of 68 titles, she climbed 22 places from a share of 37th overnight into tied 15th position.
Davies, who opened with rounds of 77 and 74, carded an eagle 2 at the 387yd sixth where she holed out from 120yd with a 52 degree wedge. She admitted that the eagle lifted her spirits. “I knocked it on the next in two and two putted for a birdie. Then I knocked an absolute drain in at the next for a birdie so I went eagle, birdie, birdie and all of a sudden I was interested in the tournament again,” said Davies, who estimated that she would need to shoot seven or eight under in the final round to come close to winning the tournament.
“I’ve been saying all week that if I could hit more fairways, which I did today, then I could shoot a low number. But if you’re missing fairways like I did the first two days, I was 50 yards from the hole about four times and bogeyed them. You’ve got to be in the fairway.”
Nocera went out in level par 36, with two birdies – at the third and seventh holes - and two bogeys at the first and ninth holes, on the front nine. She was also level coming back, with a bogey at the 12th and a birdie at the 18th for the third consecutive day.
Gwladys said: “I didn’t hit the ball that well and I didn’t make that many putts either. The whole thing was so-so. It wasn’t that fun. I kind of fell asleep on my game. I lost my concentration and I didn’t pay too much attention to what I was doing so I kind of lost it. Then I tried fight back with a couple of birdies and finished well.”
She admitted that she kept an eye on the leaderboard heading down the stretch and said: “I thought it was a good idea to have a birdie on 18 and get a three-shot lead instead of two. I think I can win. Three shots ahead is good, but there are 18 holes to play so we will see.”
Nocera, who was voted as the 2006 Player’s Player of the Year after recording three victories last year, added a fourth LET title to her resume at the KLM Ladies Open in Holland in June. A second win in 2007 would provide the perfect boost ahead of next week’s season-ending Dubai Ladies Masters.
Lagoutte-Clement, who married her caddie Sebastien a year ago on December 9, 2006, has just returned from her honeymoon in the Bahamas and New York, which she decided to take 11 months late. She will be aiming for her first victory since the 2006 Finnair Masters in Finland.
Clare Queen is the leading Scot in joint 19th place with scores of 75, 72 and 73 for 220. She had two birdies in her Friday round - at the fifth and 15th but took the edge off a potentially good score with a cluster of late bogeys, at the 14th, 16th and 17th for 38 home.
Buchanan Castle amateur Kylie Walker, pictured above, has recovered some of her best form of the year in distant India. She is in joint 29th place in a field of 71 with scores of 77, 73 and 72 for 222 - the same mark as former Curtis Cup player Kiran Matharu and Irish-Australian Rebecca Coakley.
Kylie did very well indeed to shake off the mind-blowing effects of a double-bogey 5 at the short third followed by a bogey at the fourth.
She then was five under par for the next six holes - vintage Walker indeed! - with birdies at the fifth, sixth, eighth, ninth and 10th.
Late bogeys, at the 14th and 17th, saw her home in 37 after getting to the turn in 35.
Michele Thomson from Ellon is improving by big margins every day - an 82 (six three-putts) followed by a 79 and then a 75 for 236 to be in 64th place. Michele, after no birdies in Round 1 and only one in Round 2, put together four of them on Friday - at the third, 14th, 15th and 16th.
A double bogey 6 at the second and shots dropped at the fifth and sixth saw her turn in 39. She bogeyed the 11th, 12th and 18th in an inward 36.
Par 216 (3 x 72)
210 G Nocera (France) 69 69 72.
213 V Lagoutte-Clement (France) 72 75 66.
215 M Eberl (Germany) 76 71 68, Lisa Hall (England) 72 73 70, M Prieto (Spain) 73 70 72, T Johnson(England) 73 70 72.
216 K-M Juul (Denmark) 73 73 70, L Wahlin (Sweden) 69 75 72.
217 M Beautell (Spain) 77 70 70, B Brewerton (Wales) 76 70 71, S Walker (England) 70 75 72, M Rigon (Italy) 73 72 72, E Steinberger (Austria) 74 70 73, T Plucksataporn (Thailand) 72 71 74.
218 L Davies (England) 77 74 67, V Zorzi (Italy) 75 71 72, Bo Ri Lee (Korea) 71 72 75.
219 L Kreutz (France) 75 74 70.
220 A B Sanchez (Spain) 72 76 72, J Schaeffer (France) 74 74 72, C Queen (The Carrick at Cameron House) 75 72 73 (jt 19th).
Other scores:
221 J Head (England) 77 71 73 (jt 22nd).
222 K Walker (Buchanan Castle) (amateur) 77 73 72, K Matharu (England) 76 73 73, R Coakley (Ireland) 73 76 73 (jt 29th).
223 D Masters (England) 77 76 70 (jt 36th).
224 H Kavanagh (Ireland) 78 74 72 (jt 41st).
225 Lydia Hall (Wales) 76 75 74 (jt 45th).
226 N C Booth (England) 73 76 77 (48th)).
227 K Taylor (England) 78 75 76, F More (England) 80 72 77 (jt 53rd).
230 C Coughlan (Ireland) 78 77 74 (jt 58th).
232 K S Taylor (England) 76 77 79, S Heath (England) 74 79 79 (jt 60th).
236 M Thomson (McDonald Ellon) 82 79 75 (64th).
238 J Clingan (England) 76 78 84 (65th).
239 G Simpson (England) 82 77 80 (jt 66th of 71 players).

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