Caroline Hedwall took control on a sunny and breezy day at the La Reserva de Sotogrande Invitational, posting a third round of 70 to lead by one over Céline Herbin and Esther Henseleit.

With a five-under-par total, the 30-year-old Swede has her sights set on a seventh Ladies European Tour title, a place in the Evian Championship and a fourth Solheim Cup appearance. A top 10 finish following tomorrow’s final round will see her into the top three places on the European Cup rankings, while a win will move her to the top of the list.

Playing in 23C and a howling wind gusting at 20 miles per hour, Hedwall carded three birdies and a solitary bogey on Saturday.

“I had a good chance on numbers three and five and didn’t make them and then I two-putted for birdie on number six. Then I made a decent putt on the seventh and hit it close on nine. It was more about me getting close for birdie opportunities than getting on a run, but it was nice,” said Hedwall.

“I bogeyed the 10th and on 16, I was just short of the green and I mis-read the chip and it ended up in the bunker behind but it was a good up and down so I was really happy with that par. I was just trying to be in a good position going into the last day and I achieved that.

“I wouldn’t say that it was comfortable playing in the windy conditions, because it was challenging, but I’m very happy with my game. I created a lot of birdie opportunities so I’m looking forward to tomorrow and hopefully I can put in another good round,” said Hedwall, whose last win on tour came at the 2018 Lacoste Ladies Open de France at Golf du Médoc.

Another former French Open winner, Herbin (above), who won in 2015 at Golf du Chantaco, had a 73 to sit one back from the lead. She said: “Obviously it was quite tough and there was a little bit less wind than yesterday but it was still difficult to make good decisions and I had more problems on the greens with 35 putts instead of 29 yesterday, which made a big difference. I hit the ball well and had good feelings with my long game so hopefully I can get a hot putter tomorrow.”

Meanwhile Henseleit, the leading first year professional on the LET, held a two-stroke lead after 11 holes but slipped one behind into joint second with a 74.

She went out in one-under but then made four bogeys in a row from the 12th followed by a birdie from four metres on the short 17th.

She said: “I was struggling a bit with my putter and then my irons weren’t that good on those holes, so bogeys were alright and I had a good birdie and a solid par to finish.”

Spain’s Maria Parra kept hopes of a home victory alive with a 72 to sit two shots off the lead and share fourth place with Frenchwoman Camille Chevalier.

England’s Ellie Givens lies in sixth on one-under, with Spain’s Carmen Alonso, Sweden’s Daniela Holmqvist and Germany’s Olivia Cowan tied for seventh on level par. England’s Charlotte Thompson, the joint halfway leader (below), carded a third round 78, which included back-to-back triple bogeys on holes 10 and 11 and she slipped back to 10th on one-over-par, six shots adrift heading into the final round.

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