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Leblanc closes in on first LPGA top 10 finish


STRONG winds have made scoring difficult in the third round of the ISPS Handa Australian Open.

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But the tough conditions have opened the door for Canada’s Maude-Aimee Leblanc to record her first LPGA top 10 finish.

With wind gusts of more than 50km/h, only a dozen players managed to break par on moving day at Royal Adelaide in the South Australian capital.

American Lizette Salas leads on 10-under from Australians Sarah Jane Smith and Sue Oh and Thailand’s Phatlum Pornanong on -8.

Leblanc is a further shot back on 7-under and in a tie for fifth after an even par round of 73. Her best finish is a T11 at last year’s Marathon Classic.

“I hit the ball really well but I fell like I left many shots out there, especially on the greens,” the 28-year-old from Sherbrooke, Quebec said.

“It was very tricky to putt in the wind.

“I’ve just got to keep hitting it the way I am and stay patient, that’s all I can do.”

Alena Sharp, from Hamilton, Ontario, also showed resilience in the wind to be in a tie for 10th at 5-under.

“I thought I grinded it out and hit a lot of good shots today when it was pretty tough.

“I think it’s going to be like this tomorrow again so if you get a hot round going you never know what can happen.”

Thailand’s Aiya Jutanugarn shot a solid 71 this morning to reach 4-under and is one the only player apart from Salas to have broken par on all three days.

Defending champion Haru Nomura has also made a third round move, shooting 69 to reach 6-under.

World No.8 Brooke Henderson, of Smiths Falls, Ontario, teed off early and could not improve on her Even par total. However, as a result of the windy conditions she has moved up into a tie for 35th.

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