Australia’s hopes of taking home the British Open title have faded slightly, with Anna Nordqvist and Nanna Koerstz Madsen took a share of the lead heading into the final round at 9-under.
However, only four shots separate the top 17 players in the field going into the final round.
The chasing pack includes Melbourne’s Su Oh, on 5-under, while Minjee Lee won’t have ruled out the prospect of back-to-back major wins, sitting a further shot back at five off the lead.
Two-time major winner Nordqvist led the way with a faultless 7-under-par 65 in the murky, damp but not too windy conditions that jumped her 22 places up the leaderboard.
She sits alongside Madsen, who shot 68.
Oh led the Australian challenge with her 1-under-par round but it was a pretty mixed bag for the 25-year-old Texas-based player as she recorded four bogeys and five birdies.
She was, though, grateful to come home strong over the last eight holes, which she played in three-under.
“But I made some really good up-and-downs and sort of finished well, which I was very happy with. I actually really love it here. It stresses me out but I think that’s really good that you have to think about every shot.”
Lee never really got going as she sought to put herself in position to follow up her Evian Championship victory with another major title, a bogey at the last meaning she’ll have to shoot something special to win on Sunday.
For the second day running, Sydney’s Steph Kyriacou battled back from unpromising beginnings, with two bogeys in the first five holes followed immediately by three straight birdies from the sixth.
Only a bogey at the last spoiled her fun as she ended up at three-under, still only six off the lead while Hannah Green is a shot further back after also shooting 71.
Perhaps the most unlikely player in contention was Louise Duncan, a 21-year-old Scottish amateur who goes to Stirling University, sitting 7-under.
She gave a fist pump after making birdie at the eighth for a 68 to stay in contention for much more than the Smyth Salver that is awarded to the leading amateur.
“The crowd was absolutely loving it and so was I,” Duncan said.
“And to hole that putt tops it off as well.”
“I’m excited to get out there tomorrow even if the weather is going to be like this. Hopefully, it blows a wee bit as well.”
Duncan won’t be the only player counting on local support on Sunday.
Nordqvist, who won the LPGA Championship in 2009 and the Evian Championship in 2017 for her two majors, said her husband was from a place 20 minutes away from Carnoustie and that many of his friends and family had been at the course.
“I am definitely feeling their support,” she said.