Ice cool Boutier in charge at Bonville
EQUALLING the course recordof 67 has seen Celine Boutier build up a five stroke lead at the end of moving day at the Australian Ladies Classic - Bonville.
The French golfer produced a masterful performance in challenging conditions during the third round at the Bonville Golf Resort.
Starting the round two shots behind overnight leader Holly Clyburn, the diminutive 24-year-old played a flawless front nine in 32 and added two more birdies on the back nine as she put daylight between herself and the field in this Ladies European Tour co-sanctioned event.
In a field where experts suggested the title might be lifted by either Clyburn or pre-tournament favourite Hannah Green, Boutier simply got on with the job of racking up birdies in conditions which tested even the veterans.
Playing alongside her in the final group of the day, Clyburn admitted she was impressed with how Boutier went about her business.
"Celine played fantastic out there. She did not miss anything. I didn't expect her to go out there and shoot 67 at all, in these conditions. It was her day," she said.
Clyburn started the day at 8-under but slipped back into a share of second with a disappointing two-over 74.
"I'm in touching distance, you don't know what tomorrow will bring," the England girl said.
"I'm hoping that she (Boutier) does that (again) tomorrow and that I get the rub of the green. We'll just wait and see. It's been a long day."
While Clyburn's disappointment was obvious, Boutier had the air of a player who'd been there before.
"I was just playing my game. I didn't pay attention to the leaderboard. I didn't even know I was that far ahead," Boutier said.
Being this far in front won't involve a change of strategy for tomorrow.
"My strategy has been working very well. And I think the girls can shoot very low tomorrow, so I don't think I should be too conservative," she said.
Green continued with her birdie/bogey wrestling match today. The West Australian scored five birdies and five bogeys.
"I'm personally finding it hard to find the pace" of the greens," Green siad.
"The bogeys have come because I've been three-putting, which is quite unusual.
"I'm usually more consistent but I'm glad I'm making this many birdies. Hopefully the scorecard will be a little cleaner tomorrow."
The 22-year-old still has the confidence she can win.
"If you want to win, you have to believe you can," she said.
While Green is the highest-placed Australian, compatriot Rebecca Artis is also contending.
The Queenslander fought the conditions to post an even-par round to remain at three-under and in a tie for eighth spot.
"I had it going early but got a bit sloppy in the middle of the round. I made a few bad mistakes that stopped my momentum," Artis said.
"I'm not too far back ... I can win from there. I've won from there before. I won in Scotland from six back, and I won in Sweden from six back. I'll just go out and see if I can get it going and put some pressure on during the back nine."
The day's equal-lowest round came from Icelandic professional Olafia Kristinsdottir.
The 25-year-old was named Iceland's sportsperson the year last year.
"The greens were fresh, and we were really lucky with the weather. I played really well, I drove it well, putted well ... I did everything well," she said.
-11 Celine Boutier (FRA)
-6 Holly Clyburn (ENG)
-5 Katie Burnett (USA), Daniela Holmqvist (SWE), Olivia Cowan (GER), Valdis Jonsdottir (ISL)
-4 Hannah Green
-3 Rebecca Artis (AUS), Nanna Madsen, Nanna (DEN)
-2 Florentyna Parker (ENG)