Long-hitting American teen sensation Angel Yin fired the day’s best score of a seven-under 65 to haul herself back into contention heading into the final round of the Omega Dubai Ladies Classic at Emirates Golf Club on Friday.
Yin, who turned 19 in October, made a blistering start, notching up eight birdies, including four in a row from the second, against one bogey to join Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg for a share of second on 10-under, just two shots behind the overnight leader Anne Van Dam, who returned an up-and-down third round of 70.
On Pink Friday, highlighted by a raft of red-figure rounds, a number of players, including Dame Laura Davies, the recent Ricoh Women’s British Open winner In-Kyung Kim and Charley Hull moved up onto an exciting bunched-up leaderboard, with just four shots separating the top 11.
England’s Hull, who finished runner-up to China’s Shanshan Feng last year, and India’s Aditi Ashok, seeking a desert slam of wins in Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, were tied for fourth one nine under while Kim and Davies shot matching 66s to move into a six-way tie for sixth on eight under.
American Katie Burnett, Laura Jansone of Latvia, Florentyna Parker of England and Denmark’s Nicole Broch Larsen completed the group, promising a thrilling finish coming down the stretch on Saturday.
“I am really happy with my round. Overall, I stroked it pretty well and made a few putts,” said Yin, who was tied for 10th last year at the Omega Dubai Ladies Classic as a rookie, before going on to represent the United States at this year’s Solheim Cup in Iowa.
“I hit my iron shots really good. Of the four consecutive birdies, three of them were a foot away from the hole, so it was tap-in. Usually, when you start off well, you don’t close it off that well, but I did that,” said Yin, who managed to save par on the 18th after a wayward drive.
Overnight leader Van Dam got off to a decent start with birdies on second and third, but struggled a bit to keep the early momentum going. “It was a bit up and down. There were quite some good things also. On some little shots I struggled a little bit, but I would say overall, two-under is fine,” said the 22-year-old Dutch star, who claimed her maiden win at last year’s Xiamen Open in China.
Perennial contender Davies attributed her third-round 66 to putting. “Ball striking is decent, but it takes the pressure off when you know you don’t have to hit it stiff to make a birdie anymore. So putting, that’s all it is,” said the veteran golfer, who is chasing her first regular tour win in seven years.
“Winning, that’s the only thing you come here for. As unrealistic as people probably think it is, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think I could win.”
Former winner Kim, the 2009 champion, was delighted to remain firmly in contention for a second win in Dubai. “I hit the ball well and gave myself a lot of opportunities. I think it just paid off, staying patient, to birdie the last two holes.”
England’s Hull almost drove the par-4 second and holed the putt from the back edge of the green for an eagle in one of the major highlights of a bogey-free 67. “Played well, but left so many shots out there. Just couldn’t get my putter going at all,” said Hull, acclaimed as one of the finest talents of her generation.
Lindberg, who mixed seven birdies with a bogey, felt there were many players up there with a chance. “Someone is going to go out and play a good round. I’m going to stick to my plan and I’m going to go home and think about what number I’m going to try to reach tomorrow, and that will be my goal,” said the Swede, looking for her first win on Tour.