Shin storms clear of Australian Open pack

Former champion and world No.1 Jiyai Shin has charged to a two-stroke third-round lead at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

HANNAH GREEN of Australia plays a shot during the ISPS Handa Vic Open at 13th Beach Golf Club in Geelong, Australia.
HANNAH GREEN of Australia plays a shot during the ISPS Handa Vic Open at 13th Beach Golf Club in Geelong, Australia. Picture: Kelly Defina/Getty Images

Home-grown Hannah Green is on the prowl as Jiyai Shin eyes a second Australian Open crown after storming to the third-round lead at Victoria Golf Club.

Korea's former world No.1 parlayed a red-hot start into a five-under-par 68 on Saturday to grab a one-stroke lead over South Africa's reigning British Open champion Ashleigh Buhai (66), with Green (71) lurking one shot further back.

Champion at Royal Canberra in 2013, Shin moved to 14 under for the tournament to head up a star-studded leaderboard loaded with major winners.

Buhai's round of the day featured a birdie blitz either side of the turn as the two frontrunners threatened to extend the local title drought to almost a decade.

But Green, the solo halfway leader, finished birdie-birdie to revive Australian hopes after they appeared to be slipping away.

At one point, the 2019 US PGA champion was five shots behind Shin before her late flurry coupled with a sloppy double bogey from the Korean on the par-3 16th pulled the deficit back to just two.

"I was pretty disappointed with how I was playing so it's nice to at least finish on a positive note with two birdies," Green said.

"But you just never know on this golf course. It's starting to get firm and depends on how the wind is so you just have to stay patient, which is difficult.

"But I probably like that I'm coming in on the hunt versus having the lead."

Green conceded to being somewhat uncomfortable with the halfway solo lead.

"Tthat's probably on your mind," she said.

"I felt like I was missing a lot of putts and my playing partners were making the putts so that was a bit frustrating in that sense.

"But I didn't hit it great at all so I can't really complain about my round.

"If anything, I should say I probably am glad that I got at least got under par.

"I'm looking forward to tomorrow and hopefully we're having a lot of birdies and everything."

First-round leader Grace Kim also rallied late to salvage a 70 to climb to nine under and a share of fifth with another Korean former world No.1, So Yeon Ryu (70).

But Australian No.1 Minjee Lee looks out of contention after her round of 70 left the US Open champion seven strokes off the pace at seven under.

No Australian has won the Open since the legendary Karrie Webb claimed her fifth title in 2014, also at Victoria.

Fittingly, Webb has emerged from semi-retirement this week to play in the historic dual-gender Open and made the controversial second cut on Saturday night.

Only the top 30 players and ties will tee off on Sunday, with Webb sharing 20th spot at two over following an even-par 72.

Fellow veteran former winner Dame Laura Davies (75) also survived the cut, tied for 25th at five over.