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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Stefania Croce now leads by two shots
going into last round in France

Italian Stefania Croce shot a third round 71 today to establish a two-stroke lead going into Sunday's final round of Vediorbis Open de France Dames at Arras.
The 1992 Ford Ladies Classic champion finished the third day on a total of 10-under-par 206, ahead of Sweden’s Nina Reis, who had a 72.
“I started roughly on the first hole but finished under par so it was good,” said the 38-year-old Croce from Como. She double bogeyed the par-four first hole after hitting her driver left, but picked up shots at the fifth, 13th and 14th holes.
Having entered the third round with a one stroke lead, Croce admitted: “I had a little bit more pressure being on top but I think I played better today because I hit more greens. The difference is making putts. If you make putts you go low.”
Croce trailed Reis by two strokes after 15 holes in the third round, the Swede having birdied holes nine, ten, 13 and 15. However, the 28-year-old from the Kungalv, who was the runner-up at last week’s Göteborg Masters after shooting 61 in the last round, then the tripled bogeyed the 17th and bogeyed the 18th.
At the par-4 17th she hit her driver right and was forced to chip out to the fairway, before taking four putts. “I felt I was playing really well and then I had the triple bogey on 17, so that’s not good. I played well generally and I will try to keep that in mind,” said Reis.
“If someone would have told me before the tournament that I would have been second going into the last round of the tournament I would have been happy but somehow it still feels a little bit sad.”
German Anja Monke and England’s Laura Davies both shot 65 and moved up into a share of third position on six-under-par 209 entering the final round. They both carded eight birdies and one bogey.
Davies, who won her 70th title in Austria a fortnight ago, said: “The course sets really well to my eye which is one of the reasons why I wanted to come back. I knew I liked it and sure enough I’ve had a decent round today. We’re playing in good weather and you can’t beat it.
“The idea was to come back to Europe and get a bit more confidence back. I’ve won, had a few top-tens and had a few laughs, so it’s worked. I feel like I’m playing well again.”
Monke added: “I’m delighted with my score. I didn’t putt as badly as yesterday. I hit some good shots and made some good putts.”
Monke is aiming for her first victory in five years on tour.
Spaniard Tania Elosegui shared of fifth with Sweden’s Cecilia Ekelundh on five-under-par, with England’s Georgina Simpson, Australia’s Leah Hart and France’s Anne-Lise Caudal a shot further back in a share of seventh.
England’s Lisa Hall, her compatriot Felicity Johnson and Spain’s Paula Marti all continued their recent good run of form finishing the day in a tie for 10th place.

COLIN FARQUHARSON'S SCOTSWATCH: Jenna Wilson, the only Scot to survive the halfway cut, had a 74 to be sharing 44th place on 221. The Strathaven player had four birdies - at the fifth, 13th, 14th and 17th - but too many bogeys (six on the day) to see her make significant headway up the leaderboard.

Par 216 (3x72)
206 S Croce 67 68 71.
208 N Reid 67 69 72.
209 A Monke 67 78 65, L Davies 72 73 65.
211 T Elosegui 74 70 67, E Ekelundh 68 73 70.
212 G Simpson 74 70 68, L Hart 71 73 69, A-L Caudal 67 73 72.
213 Lisa Hall 74 69 70, P Marti 69 74 70, F Johnson 70 72 71.
214 K Luynn 75 6 71, S Head 76 66 72, I Tinning 70 69 75.
215 C Alonso 70 75 70, L Fairclough 74 72 69, A Yang 71 71 73.
Selected scores:
216 T Johnson 73 71 72 (jt 19th).
218 G Nocera 72 77 69 (jt 26th).
219 R Hudson 72 73 74, N C Booth 72 73 74 (jt 35th).,
221 J Wilson 74 73 74, K S Taylor 73 76 72 (jt 44th).
222 Lydia Hall 75 74 73 (jt 50th).
224 R Bell 73 75 76 (jt 55th).