Wellington - Spain's Belen Mozo saw her lead slashed to one stroke in a windswept third round of the New Zealand Women's Open on Saturday as Canadian Brooke Henderson chipped her way into contention ahead of an approaching storm.
As many players struggled in the stiffening breeze, overnight leader Mozo had two bogeys in her 71 to be 15-under 201 going into the final round while Henderson had five birdies in her faultless 67 to be on 202.
"My chipping was awesome. It saved me a couple of times and got me close to make a couple of tap-in birdies so that was the key today. I was hitting it well and judging the wind pretty well," she said.
Not everyone was put off by the strengthening wind on Saturday with American Brittany Lincicome and Nicole Broch Larsen from Denmark firing the day's best rounds of 66.
Lincicome moved up to be in a tie for third with China's Jing Yan, four shots off the lead, with Larsen a further three shots back in eighth.
New Zealand's Lydia Ko, the former world number one, carded a third-round 70 to move up one place for a share of 11th on 208.
Meanwhile, forecast stormy weather has forced the tournament organisers to move the tee times earlier than first scheduled and use a two-tee start.
"The advice from (forecasters) is that we will face some challenging conditions and we believe it is prudent to get play completed as early as possible," tournament director Michael Goldstein said.
"If the forecasted weather results in delays, then we will have time available to get the tournament completed on Sunday."
Leading scores after the third round of the LPGA's New Zealand Women's Open at Auckland's Windross Farm on Saturday (par 72):
201 - Belen Mozo (ESP) 66-64-71
202 - Brooke Henderson (CAN) 65-70-67
205 - Brittany Lincicome (USA) 67-72-66, Jing Yan (CHN) 70-66-69
206 - Mariajo Uribe (COL) 68-68-70, Amy Boulden (WAL) 66-70-70, Thidapa Suwannapura (THA) 70-66-70
207 - Nicole Broch Larsen (DEN) 72-69-66, Beatriz Recari (ESP) 67-70-70, Madelene Sagstrom (SWE) 68-67-72
208 - Su Oh (AUS) 69-70-69, Hee Young Park (KOR) 69-70-69, Lydia Ko (NZL) 70-68-70
209 - Lindy Duncan (USA) 73-69-67, Gaby Lopez (MEX) 70-72-67, Jodi Ewart Shadoff (ENG) 65-7-71