Pedersen in line for European hat-trick

Emily Kristine Pedersen heads into the final round of the Andalucia Costa Del Sol Open De Espana with a slender one-shot lead over Nuria Iturrioz, courtesy of a stunning eagle on her final hole.

Order of Merit winner Pedersen posted a bogey-free four-under 68 in the third round of the season-ending event, the highlight of which came when she holed from 30ft on the par-five 18th after a fine approach from 171 yards.

The Dane moved on to nine-under overall to put herself in pole position to become the first woman to win three consecutive events on the Ladies European Tour since Marie-Laure de Lorenzi 31 years ago.

“It never gets boring leading; this is why I practice so hard to be in this position so no complaints from me,” she said.

“I took a chance with the second shot on 18, I knew it was risky but I was confident I could pull it off, I hit it really solid and played well but couldn’t quite make the putts until the end.”

Home favourite Iturrioz boasted a three-shot lead at the halfway stage and briefly increased her advantage to five strokes with three successive birdies from the second, but she then faltered and settled for a level-par 72.

“I made a few bad decisions out there which led to three bogeys and that’s it,” she said. “I hope I keep playing like this (on Sunday), with less mistakes and we will see what happens.”

Scotland’s Kelsey MacDonald slipped five shots off the lead after an error-strewn round of 73.

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