Lydia Ko is going to need a stunning final round to capture a major title in 2021 following a bizarre third round at the British Open in Carnoustie.
The world No 6 shot an even-par 72 to sit in a share of 40th after three rounds, eight shots adrift from co-leaders Anna Nordqvist of Sweden and Denmark's Nanna Koerstz Madsen.
Ko started her third round with a bogey at the second and then it started to fall apart with three straight bogies at nine, 10 and 11 to slip back to three over. But she then reeled off three birdies across the next three holes to get her round back to one-over. A birdie at the last completed what must be one of her most down-up rounds of her career.
The three consecutive bogies may have done too much damage to her chances of claiming her first British Open title but one person you wouldn't rule out from the middle of the leaderboard is the Kiwi. Eight shots might sound insurmountable, but Ko has recent form in producing low final rounds.
At last week's Scottish Open, the Tokyo bronze medallist shot a final round 63 to finish in second, the same score she recorded in the fourth round at the Great Lakes Bay Invitational last month. Her best effort came also at a major, when she finished the ANA Inspiration with a 10-under 62 to finish second behind Patty Tavatanakit in April.
A bunched-up chasing pack, featuring Nelly Korda, Lexi Thompson, Ariya Jutanugarn, Brooke Henderson, Sei Young Kim and Georgia Hall, promises to make it a Sunday to remember at Carnoustie with or without a surging Ko. The top 14 were separated by just three shots going into the final round.
In the toughest conditions of the week on the storied Scottish links, the 34-year-old Nordqvist — a two-time major champion — shot her lowest round in one of women's golf's five elite events with a bogey-free seven -under 65. Koerstz Madsen, a 26-year-old Dane with just one top-10 finish in a major, joined Nordqvist on nine-under overall by rolling in a 15-foot eagle putt at No 12 and parring her way home down Carnoustie's tough closing stretch to shoot 68.
They are a stroke ahead of Lizette Salas of the United States, whose up-and-down at the last completed a round of 70 that didn't include a bogey from the fifth hole.
World No 1 and Tokyo gold medallist Korda sits three shots back.
On the European Tour, Ryan Fox is in 34th place at four-under heading into the final round of the Czech Masters after shooting a two-under 70. Fellow Kiwi Josh Geary had a one-over 73 and is five shots further back from his compatriot in 59th.
They are both well back from Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen who leads at 13-under. Pulkkanen is aiming for his first win on the European Tour and goes into the fourth round with a two-shot lead over a chasing pack that includes former British Open winner Henrik Stenson.
Danny Lee carded a two-under 69 in his third round at the second-tier Korn Ferry Tour finals. Two bogies on the last two holes saw Lee sit tied for 63rd at the Boise Open at five-under, 12 shots off the lead.
Lee had five birdies and three bogies in his round. The top 25 golfers at the end of three Korn Ferry Tour finals events — the Boise Open is the first — earn status on the PGA Tour for next season.
Also in the United States, the final round of The Northern Trust has been pushed back to Tuesday NZT because of approaching Hurricane Henri along the northeastern shores. The PGA Tour decided to shut down Liberty National tomorrow. Today's third round was proceeding as scheduled.