A mighty drive off the fifth tee brought Brittany Lincicome back into the New Zealand Women's Open during the third round.

It was a case of risk-reward. The American was poised in a reasonable position at six-under for the tournament, but needed something special to draw her into the contest.

She found it with an eagle on the par-5 447m challenge.

"There was a bunker in my landing zone [at about 250m]," Lincicome said.

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"My caddy and I thought if we hit into the bunker it'd be no big deal because we'd lay up. Otherwise it'd be a short iron to the green.

"I only had to hit a 5-iron and just aimed it at the middle of the green. I didn't need to be too aggressive, and it was nice to make a long putt."

Victories at the 2009 and 2015 ANA Inspiration majors mean the 32-year-old knows how to handle pressure.

"It was a bit windier than the rest of the week, but I was making a lot of putts.

"Yesterday I felt like I was gripping the putter too tight.

"I had four lip-outs in a row, which is bad luck, and I left a lot of putts short. Today I had a little stat going in my head and I only left two short. I tried to take deep breaths to get a nice smooth stroke. It paid off."

A par on the 17th was also welcome news after conceding a triple bogey there yesterday.

"It's unbelievable how it can escalate so quickly. I had an easy little chip shot and the next thing I'd made a six.

"Today I took two extra clubs into the wind."

Lincicome said the course suits her game but a forecast, which includes thunderstorms and westerly gales, was ominous.

"I can bomb the greens on most holes and not get into too much trouble.

"[The par-4 tee boxes] are drivable on 10 and 15, so I need to take advantage of my length and hit good shots.

"It just depends on the weather. Me and rain are not the best of friends. Hopefully it'll pass through like today, with a few light showers followed by the sun coming out."