AIG Women & # 039; s Open: Sophia Popov leads through three at Royal Troon

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Sophia Popov started the third round on Saturday with a shot from the lead Location: Royal Troon, Ayrshire Date: August 20-23 Coverage: Daily Highlights on iPlayer at 8:30 pm BST and 11:00 pm hours: 20 on BBC Two, regular updates on BBC Radio 5 Live and live text coverage of the last round of Sunday -4 S Popov (Dld); -1 J Suwannapura (Tha); M Lee (Aus); Level A Ernst (US); +1 L Weaver (US), C Masson (Ger); +2 EK Pederson (Den), L Ko (NZ), K Gillman (US) Selected others: +6 M Reid (Scary); +7 J Ewart Shadoff (Eng); +8 C Matthew (Sco), B Morgan (Wal); +9 B Law (Eng), S Meadow (NI); +10 G Hall (Eng); +14 F Johnson (Eng); +17 M Thomson (Sco); Full Classification

World No. 304 Sophia Popov leads with three shots in the final round of the AIG Women's Open at Royal Troon.

Popov, 27, never won a major, but made an eagle and two birdies in a four-under 67 to get a pillow over Minjee Lee and Thidapa Suwannapura.

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Nightly leader Daniela Holmqvist, the only substandard player after a day of high winds and rain on Friday dropped out of battle after a six-over 77

The leading Britons are Mel Reid (+6) and Jodi Ewart Shadoff (+7).

Reid, 32, carded a three-under 68 on another hard-scoring day to split the 26th, while Ewart Shadoff is a shot further back at the Ayrshire junctions.

New Zealand's Lydia Ko, the two-time major champion, continued her return to form with a 72 to be six behind Popov and stay in with a shot at victory.

In 2015, aged 17, Ko – who has a six-hole live-shot lead to play at the Marathon Classic this month – became the youngest number one in the world, but has not won a title since the 2018 Mediheal Championship.

Popov's impressive bogey-free lap included a 30-foot putt for birdie on 17th to strengthen its position at the top of the leaderboard.

She only qualified for the Women & # 39; s Open with a top-10 finish at the Marathon Classic and last week she played on the Symetra Tour, the feeder circuit for the LPGA Tour .

"I'm extremely happy. Four under and bogey-free is more than I could have hoped for," the German told Sky Sports.

"I managed not to put myself in positions where I panicked. I played solid and that's because I was very patient. Patience was absolutely key this week and that is probably what I'm most proud of.

"After the first two rounds I felt very comfortable there. I know my game is in a good place. I'd be lying if I said I won't be super nervous tomorrow morning – the nerves will be there, so I have to realize that and play with them. "

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