England’s Georgia Hall will head into the final day of the Ricoh Women’s British Open one shot adrift of third round leader Pornanong Phatlum.
Hall had an erratic day from tee to green at Royal Lytham, but some wonderful scrambling kept her firmly in contention for a first major title.
The 22-year-old finished with three birdies in the last four holes for a 69 to join Phatlum in the final group on Sunday.
“The front nine looks very relaxed but it was actually very hard,” Hall told Sky Sports.
“My long game, my timing, was out on the front nine and I really had to hold some quite long putts for par
“It was much harder work today so I’m quite glad I got three under.”
Hall had birdies at the third and sixth before her remarkable run without a dropped shot ended at the 13th.
England’s Georgia Hall fired three birdies in the final four holes to remain one off the lead (Jane Barlow/PA)
Another dropped shot came at the 17th, but birdies at 15, 16 and 18 when Hall sent an approach within six feet of the flag saw her produce a strong finish.
“I was so happy with the way I putted, I was rolling it well and I was seeing the lines quite clearly,” Hall said.
“I did 20 minutes before my normal warm-up and then another 20 minutes putting.
“I think the 40 minutes putting I did before I went out was the key to how I putted.
“It was great to get so much support, I haven’t really had that before because I play in America quite a bit.
“It was so nice to have that backing and there were so many people behind me that I feel that was the reason I had good shots.”
Phatlum was a surprise 36-hole leader as the Thai had made only one cut in seven previous visits to the British Open.
But she was solid all day and birdies at the third, sixth, eighth and 11th maintained her overnight lead.
Phatlum also carded a 69 with her solitary bogey coming at the 12th.
Ryu So-yeon is one shot back from Hall after climbing the leaderboard with a run of six birdies between the fifth and the 12th.
The South Korean, who has has had three top-10 British Open finishes, said: “Winning this tournament has always been my goal for the year.”
“I’ve always enjoyed this tournament and I think I’m in a pretty good position heading into Sunday.”
Two-time major champion Park Sung-hyun is a further shot back with Mamiko Higa and Minjee Lee.
Higa is aiming to become the first female Japanese golfer to win a major title since 1977.