Home player Stephanie Meadow will take a four-shot lead into Sunday’s final round in the women’s event at the World Invitational in Northern Ireland.
Meadow, in her first professional event in Northern Ireland, hit a six-under 67 to move to 10-under – four clear of England’s Eleanor Givens.
England’s Charley Hull and another Irishwoman Leona Maguire are in a group five behind the 27-year-old.
England’s Todd Clements and France’s Damien Perrier lead the men’s field.
For the first time in European golf, the Northern Ireland event features separate men’s and women’s tournaments with equal prize money.
Meadow is on course to take the £33,000 women’s first prize with £22,000 and £14,500 going to the second and third-place finishers in both tournaments.
The Jordanstown woman finished third on her professional debut at the Women’s US Open in 2014 but her only professional win came on the second-tier Symetra Tour in the US last year.
Earlier this week, the Northern Irishwoman vowed to embrace the weight of expectation of being the big local hope and she performed that task exceptionally on Saturday by recovering from a bogey at the second to card seven birdies.
“I don’t plan to do anything different tomorrow, just go out there and try and make as many birdies as I can,” said the US-based player.
European Solheim Cup star Hull moved to within two of Meadow before the Northern Irishwoman’s run of four birdies in five holes from the 10th.
Hull’s round included a remarkable nine birdies but also a double bogey and two further dropped shots.
County Cavan woman Maguire kept her hopes alive by hitting a 71 to join Hull and German duo Olivia Cowan and Laura Fuenfstueck on five under.
Kildare amateur Lauren Walsh remains in the top 10 on two under but Northern Ireland amateur Annabel Wilson missed the third-round cut as an 84 dropped her to 11 over.
For the second successive day, play was delayed following heavy rain but scoring was still impressive as early starter Sweden’s Jacob Glennemo fired a six-under-par 64 to storm up the men’s field to five under.
By the end of the day, Glennemo was only four behind leaders Clements and Perrier after finishing Friday’s action on the cut mark.
Overnight leader Clements, ranked 1055th in the world and having never won on Europe’s second-tier men’s circuit, battled well to finish with two closing birdies as a 68 left the 22-year-old on nine under with Frenchman Perrier .
The duo are one ahead of England’s Jack Senior and Italy’s Francesco Laporta with another Englishman Jordan Wrisdale three off the pace and last year’s Northern Ireland Open winner, Scotland’s Calum Hill, in a group four behind.
A home winner looks highly unlikely in the men’s event with Ardglass player Cormac Sharvin the only Irishman to make the third-round cut as a closing eagle saw survive on the exact mark of one under.
Sixteen-year-old Galgorm Castle amateur Josh Hill, the leading Irishman overnight, exited on four over after a 77 which included two triple bogeys on his front nine.
Article courtesy of BBC Sport