Saudi Ladies International set for thrilling finale

Lydia Hall clawed back two-shots on halfway leader Emily Kristine Pedersen to tee-up a thrilling climax to the debut $1million Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by PIF.

It will be Groundhog Day on Royal Greens Golf & Country Club’s first tee on Sunday morning after solid under-par rounds from both players – plus playing partner England’s Georgia Hall – allowed Friday’s leading trio to keep a hold of the tournament’s top three berths heading into the final round.

Denmark’s Pedersen relinquished her overnight lead through no fault of her own, carding a one-under par 71 that saw her balance out two dropped shots with three smart birdies.

Instead, it was Lydia Hall’s five birdies in a three-under par 69 that saw the Welshwoman take her place joint top of the leaderboard with only 18 holes to play.

Major-winner Georgia Hall also carded a 69, leaving her one back ahead of the three-ball’s 11.02am (8.02 GMT) final day tee-time.

Pedersen said: “I am really satisfied to still be in the lead after today. I was a little all over the place, hit some really awful tee shots and it is hard to score when you are not in the fairway. I kept grinding out there, I still hit 16 greens in regulation and that kept me in it.”

She added: “It’s good to be playing with those two again. They are playing good golf, making loads of birdies and it’s fun to be out there.”

Lydia Hall said: “I got off to a fast start and holed a good putt on the first, shaved the hole on the second and made a really good putt on the third. The wind picked up on the back nine – I had two bad swings all day.

“I’m pretty happy and looking forward to playing with the same group tomorrow again – it’s going to be fun.”

Her namesake Georgia – who is named after the location of The Masters, also taking place this weekend – said: “I was very steady today. I thought I could have holed maybe one or two more putts towards the end, but my long game was really good. The course was very different today – it wasn’t as windy as yesterday. It was very hot!

“It was great playing with Lydia and Emily, I know them both very well. Me and Emily are good friends and it was just fun. I’m looking forward to the same three-ball tomorrow, all nice girls!”

Celine Herbin of France and Sweden’s two-time Major winner Anna Nordqvist both sit on seven-under par, with Germany’s Esther Henseleit the sole player on -6.

A group of seven players all sit two-shots further back on four-under par, including Scotland’s Carly Booth, Stephanie Kyriacou of Australia, India’s Aditi Ashok and Caroline Hedwall of Sweden.

For more information – or to register for the Ladies First Club, a free-to-play world-first golf initiative for women in Saudi Arabia – please visit:  www.golfsaudi.com/en-us/ladies-international

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