Anne Van Dam fired another round of 66 (-6) at the KPMG Women’s Irish Open to hold a three-shot lead with one round remaining.

Report by the LET

On the first two days, Ann Van Dam, The Dutch star produced rounds of 69 (-3) and 66 (-6) to sit one shot behind 36-hole leader Diksha Dagar.

Van Dam got off to a good start on Saturday with a birdie on the first and then rolled in another on the third before adding another on the ninth, she made another birdie on 11 before dropping her only shot of the day on the 13th hole.

However, she bounced back and finished in style with three birdies in her final four holes to seal a round of 66 and move to the top of the leaderboard with a total of 15-under-par.

“That’s golf, you always grind until the last hole,” said the 27-year-old. “I really wanted to make that putt on 18, I put myself out of position with my drive there and all I wanted to do was give myself a chance and I did. I really liked the read – it was just outside the left – and I put a great stroke on it, so happy to finish off with a nice one. 

“It wasn’t my best day, but I also hit a lot of great shots. Overall, I have to be happy. Only one dropped shot today and seven birdies, there’s definitely plenty of good there. I’m putting really well and that’s the main thing I changed over the last couple of months is getting my confidence on the greens, especially under pressure like this. A day like today really showed it was good and I’m working on some good things. I’m excited for tomorrow.”

Watch third round highlights from the KPMG Women's Irish Open

There is a slight sense of deja vu for the Dutch star at Dromoland Castle as she led at the 54-hole mark at the tournament in 2022.

Van Dam has been working hard on her mental game and is planning to stick to the same game plan tomorrow as she aims to secure her first LET title since 2019.

She explained: “I have been working so hard mentally, you have to let everything in the past go. I have been really good with that and I’m proving myself every day and I’m very excited for a new day tomorrow.

“I love the feeling of playing under pressure, it can do great things with you, and it can do bad things to you, and I’ve experienced both. I’m very excited for that challenge and excited to get out there and do my thing tomorrow. 

“If you want to win a tournament you have to play well and you have to play extremely well, I’ve learnt that as well. It’s not going to be given to you. I just have to stick to my game, be aggressive with my driver and put wedges in my hand and attack where I can. That’s going to be my game plan again for tomorrow.”

The chasing pack

Sweden’s Lisa Pettersson sits in solo second place on the leaderboard after firing a round of 67 (-5) to move to 12-under-par.

Pettersson, who won the Helsingborg Open earlier this season, had only two bogeys on her scorecard and rolled in seven birdies for her round of five-under.

“It was very solid, I didn't realise until I finished the putt on 18 that I actually shot five-under,” said the Swede. “It was a nice surprise and great playing, I'm really happy with how I played. 

“I’ve just been hitting fairways and greens and some putts have been dropping and just staying out of trouble. I've posted three rounds in the 60s so I’m hoping for the same tomorrow. 

“There's a lot of good birdie opportunities on the back nine so you just try and stay in the game on the first few holes, there are a couple that are really tough in the beginning and from there you just hit the gas and roll in as many as you can. It's nice to be solid for all three rounds for sure.

“A lot can happen on the back nine, you have to get those birdies else you lose ground on the rest of the field. If the weather is good, I think anyone can shoot as low as possible. I know someone shot 10-under last year so anything can happen.”

England’s Alice Hewson and India’s Diksha Dagar sit in a share of third place on 11-under-par after rounds of 68 (-4) and 71 (-1), respectively.

Hewson, who sits 16th in the 2023 Race to Costa del Sol, had a solid day in Ireland with six birdies and two bogeys on her card to move up the leaderboard.

“I've just been very consistent,” said the Englishwoman. “I've hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens and given myself a lot of opportunities.

“It’s nice to see a couple of putts dropping here and there. My game plan for tomorrow is exactly the same as the last three days, nothing changes. 

“Benji [my caddie] and I actually took all of last week, we stayed in Ireland after ISPS and did a little golfing tour just the two of us which was really good fun. We played a lot of match play and I feel that has helped going into this week with me being a little bit more aggressive.”

Two-time LET winner Dagar, who led after the first two rounds, had a trickier day with six birdies, three bogeys and one double bogey on her scorecard.

Round of the week

Czechia’s Sara Kouskova produced the round of the week thus far, firing a 64 (-8) to climb up the leaderboard.

The 2022 LET Access Series Order of Merit winner now sits in a tie for fifth place on 10-under-par alongside Australia’s Kirsten Rudgeley and French duo Anne-Lise Caudal and Emma Grechi.

Kouskova explained: “I shot a 64 two years ago on the LET Access Series, but this is the lowest on the LET! My caddie told me on the last hole that I hit all the greens and all the fairways, so I guess that was the key today.

“Some of the putts were rolling in and we had a lucky one when I chipped in for eagle on 11, it was a very steady round today. I was happy that my headspace was right. 

“We have worked on some things and tried to change some things to get back on track and we found some positives in the game, we worked on something new which seems to be working.

“We worked on some more creativity, shaping more shots and picking and making some shots and decisions that I wouldn’t normally go for and just trusting them and being confident and it’s turning out good. If everything goes well, of course I will do my best tomorrow and keep doing what I’m doing and enjoy it.”

Sweden’s Sara Kjellker and England’s Annabel Dimmock round out the top ten with a total of nine-under-par after rounds of 66 and 67, respectively.

The final round begins at 10am (local time) on Sunday with the final group teeing off at 12.07 pm at Dromoland Castle.

View the full KPMG Women's Irish Open leaderboard here.