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31st July 2016 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Jutanugarn takes charge at Woburn

jutanugarn_a584710202_SLTAriya Jutanugarn shot a bogey-free 66 on Saturday to take the third-round lead at the RICOH Women’s British Open, while Lee-Anne Pace leapfrogged Ashleigh Simon to lead the South African charge at Woburn Golf Club in Milton Keyes, England.

A three-time champion on the LPGA Tour this season, Juranugarn is pursuing a first Major victory and the Thai golfer will start the final round with a two shot lead on a new 54-hole record 16-under-par 200.

Mirim Lee from South Korea carded 69 to take sole second, while former champion Mo Martin from the United States also returned a 69 to take third on her own at 11 under.

A fast start helped Jutanugarn jump out in front early with three birdies through five holes to get to 13-under par and never looked back.

She chipped in from 90 feet at the eighth and drained a 30-foot birdie putt at 10 to extend the lead to three. She lost a little steam on the back nine and collected just one birdie to finish at 16 under.

Jutanugarn has been performing at a high level in Majors this year.

She said being in contention at both the ANA Inspiration and KPMG Women’s PGA Championship were both great learning experiences.

“I think I know how to play under pressure,” said Jutanugarn. “I know what I have to focus on and that is to focus only on what is under my control.”

The 20-year old from Thailand is trying to become the first Thai player to win a major. She became the first player from Thailand to win on the LPGA Tour this year when won three consecutive events.

Jutanugarn’s best finish at the RICOH Women’s British Open was a T45 in 2014 and she missed the cut in 2015.

In an era where teenagers frequent the winner’s circle on the LPGA Tour, a win by Catriona Matthew from Scotland, who is fourth on 10 under, would be record-breaking. The mother of two will be 46 years, 11 months and 6 days old on Sunday and she would set the all-time record for oldest player to win a major if she claims her second Women’s British Open title on Sunday.

South Africa’s Simon steamed to a tie for 10th with a second round 68, but the four-time Sunshine Tour winner slipped back to even-par 216 and joint 53rd after posting a five over 77 in the third round.

LPGA Tour winner Pace carded a 69 on Friday to grab a share of 33rd and moved closer to the leader with a 70 on Saturday. The three-time Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies champion will start the final round in joint 19th at four under 212.

PHOTO – Ariya Jutanugarn; credit Getty Images.