Scottish amateur Louise Duncan in contention at Women’s Open at Carnoustie

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Scotland’s 21-year-old Louise Duncan is on the cusp of something remarkable as the amateur has placed herself in contention at AIG Women’s Open at Carnoustie.

With a third-round 68, the women’s amateur champion is only two shots back from leaders Anna Nordqvist and Nanna Koerstz Madsen heading into the final day.

“It was probably the most fun I’ve had all week,” said Duncan, who sank a 30-foot eagle putt at the par-five 14th and elicited huge cheers again on the 18th green by draining her birdie attempt.

“To get the putter rolling and hole some nice putts, I couldn’t have asked for more. “I was shaking on the putt on the 18th, I felt on 17 my putt should have gone in so I thought I deserved a putt. I was extremely happy to get it in.

“It’s a bit surreal really, to be playing with the best players in the world and some really big names. It’s all a bit mad. I don’t really know how I managed to keep (my nerves) under control. I just tried to find the clubface really.”

Louise Duncan was in fine form at Carnoustie (Action Images via Reuters)
Louise Duncan was in fine form at Carnoustie (Action Images via Reuters)

Nordqvist felt her 65 was down to her “great attitude” around the tough Angus links and the best score of the week gave her a share of the third-round lead with fellow Scandinavian Koerstz Madsen.

“I felt like I hit the ball really, really well last week in the hard wind at Dumbarnie in the Scottish Open,” said Nordqvist, who is seeking a third major title 12 years after her first. “So it’s started to feel like it’s come together. I feel like the last few weeks have been solid.

“I just haven’t made as many putts or scored as well as I played. My caddie just told me to keep patient. In links golf you test your patience and I feel like I’ve had a great attitude this week.

“You just never know when your hard work is going to pay off. You’ve got to keep plugging along and putting yourself in positions.”

After successive scores of 71 on Thursday and Friday, Nordqvist fired seven birdies - including three in the last five holes - to climb 22 places to the top of the leaderboard.

Anna Nordqvist is joint leader with Nanna Koerstz Madsen (AFP via Getty Images)
Anna Nordqvist is joint leader with Nanna Koerstz Madsen (AFP via Getty Images)

Denmark’s Koerstz Madsen joined Nordqvist on nine-under with a third-round 68, which included an eagle at the 12th. The pair are one shot clear of Lizette Salas and two ahead of a four-strong bunch - Duncan, Lexi Thompson, Madelene Sagstrom and Sanna Nuutinen.

American Thompson said after her round of 70: “I’ve been trying to focus on myself, my game and my emotions and really that’s all I can control. “Whatever happens, happens, with the course. You just have to stay in the moment and focus on one shot at a time.”

England’s Georgia Hall, the 2018 champion, had held a share of the overnight lead with American Mina Harigae. But Hall tumbled down the leaderboard with a one-over par 72 and is tied for eighth, three shots adrift of Nordqvist and Koerstz Madsen.

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