Charley Hull and Ryann O’Toole catch up with Ariya Jutanugarn, Tvesa Malik battles the course

The lead remained at 9-under after a testing third round in the Women's Scottish Open. Tvesa Malik is at 6-over after shooting 77 on Saturday

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Charley Hull - LET Images

15 August 2021: After an eventful Saturday at the Women’s Scottish Open, 36-hole leader Ariya Jutanugarn is joined by England’s Charley Hull and American Ryann O’Toole in a tie for first at -9. Holding a three-stroke advantage over the field at the start of the day in the final grouping, Jutanugarn’s third round ended with five birdies, three bogeys and a double-bogey on No. 10. Tvesa Malik had a disappointing third round, her card of 77 dropping her to 67th, at 6-over 222.

Tvesa conceded five strokes between and the seventh and tenth holes, making it hard for to recover on another difficult day for golf on a challenging links course. That turned out to be a massive blow, after beginning the round with six straight pars. Tvesa shot an even 72 in the third round. And even though she steadied herself to get through the final eight holes on even terms, the losses at the bend were accounted for fully in her 77. Her lone birdie on Saturday came at the par-5 fifteenth hole.

“I feel like tomorrow just have to play my own game. Today, I was thinking about the outcome so much, I don’t want to miss and make putts, and that’s why I end up today not playing so well,” said Jutanugarn. “So I think tomorrow just have to go back to like yesterday or first round and have good commitment and not really thinking about the outcome.”

Hull, who is searching for her second LPGA Tour win and first since 2016, took hold of lighter winds at Dumbarnie Links en route to a third-consecutive 69. Hull birdied Nos. 4, 7, 12 and 15, and refused to let a bogey on No. 16 ruin an all-around solid showing. “The wind actually felt warmer, as well, so the ball was going a little bit farther. Especially on last few holes it dropped off a bit,” said Hull. “I’ve been feeling confident the last six weeks ever since pretty much, just the couple weeks after U.S. Open. I feel good. I feel really good.”

Ryann O'Toole - LET Images
Ryann O’Toole – LET Images

O’Toole will look to become the sixth Rolex First-Time Winner of the 2021 season with a win at the Women’s Scottish Open on Sunday. The 34-year-old’s third-round 68, highlighted by a late eagle on the Aon Risk Reward Challenge Hole, No. 15, put her in prime contention to become the sixth-different American to win this season on Tour.

“I had just been playing 15, take the drive down just that center left side. Today with the wind direction, it was helping a bit more versus left-to-right, so I was able to bite off more on the corner. The back pins, that’s the risk is that if you come in on that left side, you have a short club in but it’s a hard position to hold that green up top,” said O’Toole. “I put myself in a good spot. I had an uphill lie with pitching wedge in and was able to hold the green nicely and make the 9-footer.”

O’Toole holds a 54-hole co-lead/lead for the first time in her Tour career. The California native, who joined the Tour in 2011, said she’s solely focused on bringing home her first LPGA Tour trophy from Scotland.

“I definitely want that win. I think I stick to my game plan, one shot at a time, picking smart targets, not too aggressive lines and a few putts to drop. I struggled all week with the speeds. You get some downhill putts that don’t play as downhill as you think or you get some that run away from you and the uphillers, you definitely have to hit,” said O’Toole. “If I can get a couple more to drop tomorrow, maybe I can be happy with the round.”

Ashleigh Buhai’s 67, which included six birdies and one bogey in her final 12 holes, put her into a tie for fourth with young Thai super and three-time Ladies European Tour winner, Atthaya Thitikul, at -8. Buhai said she’s felt her game “trending in the right direction” for the last few weeks, especially after captaining the winning team in last week’s Aramco Team Series – Sotogrande and finishing second in the individual portion.

“I didn’t know [today’s score] was coming, but yesterday I had four birdies and an eagle. So it was out there,” said Buhai. “And the thing with the wind — it’s being consistent at least and in a similar direction. Every day I think you learn to play the course a bit more and as long as you stick to the right game plan and hit to the right areas, you can make a birdie every now and then.”

Two-time major champion Anna Nordqvist finished with her first sub-70 round of the week, a 69, to sit alone in sixth at -6. Five players, including 2020 Tokyo Olympic Bronze medalist Lydia Ko, sit in a tie for seventh at -5. Defending champion Stacy Lewis’ 78 put her in 69th at +8 heading into Sunday in Fife.