Italian Diana Luna fired a third round of four-under-par 66 to take a one stroke lead into the final day at the Lacoste Ladies Open de France.
The 34-year-old from Rome, who lives in Cannes, France, sits at 12-under-par and one ahead of the halfway leader Beth Allen from the United States.
England’s Florentyna Parker is four shots further back in third place and Alexandra Vilatte Farret is the leading French player in a tie for fourth with the three-time French Open champion Trish Johnson on six-under-par.
Despite starting with a bogey for the third successive day, Luna played the front nine in one-under-par and was three behind Allen at the turn. Both players successfully navigated the treacherous and severely sloping uphill 11th and 12th holes in level par, but Allen double bogeyed the 13th when she missed the green.
With a seven-metre long eagle putt on the 15th, Luna moved one ahead and then both players matched each other over the closing three holes, taking a pair of birdies on 17.
Luna, the runner-up in the Lacoste Ladies Open de France for three straight years from 2010, suffered the heartbreak of two play-off losses at Paris International and a defeat to Stacey Keating in 2012 at Chantaco after making bogey on the final hole.
Lifting a sixth LET trophy in her adopted home country would go some way to making amends and she commented: “I am very happy to be in this position. It could be better, actually.
“I love France, I love French people and I’d really like to have a good tournament here. I was very close a few times so maybe this will be the one.”
She agreed that the recent Open de España a fortnight ago, where she ended tied for 8th, was the perfect warm-up and that she would enjoy playing in the final group with Allen again.
“She’s a great player and very nice on the course too, which helps, because it’s great to play with her and to watch,” Luna added.
Allen described her own round of 68 as “average,” adding, “I played really well on the front but made a really big mistake on 13, which was silly. Other than that it was pretty solid.”
The defending champion Céline Herbin slipped back into a share of 19th position after a third round 75, which included a torrid triple bogey on 11, where she five-putted on the slippery green.
The Lacoste Ladies Open de France is taking place at Golf de Chantaco for the fifth consecutive year and is the final European tournament of 2016 on the LET. World class golf and sunny skies are forecast for the final day, which is once again set to be a thriller.
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