Grant three behind McCook at Baltray
 Scotland's Hannah McCook. Picture: Fran Caffrey/Golffile

Scotland's Hannah McCook. Picture: Fran Caffrey/Golffile

Lisburn's Paula Grant is just three strokes behind Scotland's Hannah McCook entering the final round of the Irish Women’s Open Stroke Play Championship at County Louth.

As the recent Welsh Women’s Open Champion followed her opening 81 by making an eagle and six birdies in a five-under-par 69 in far more benign conditions, Irish champion Grant shot a level par 74 to keep her hopes of victory very much alive.

McCook leads by a stroke on two-over 150 from Romy Meekers of the Netherlands, who shot a four-under 70, with Grant tied for third with England's Ebonie Lewis and Caley McGinty on five-over after a trying day.

 Paula Grant. Picture: Fran Caffrey/Golffile

Paula Grant. Picture: Fran Caffrey/Golffile

“I actually found it difficult to club myself compared to having to consider the strong winds in the first round," Grant said.

"I just made a couple of silly mistakes and missed greens in the wrong place making it hard to get up and down, but still a lot to play for tomorrow.”

McCook missed a ten footer for eagle at the second but made no mistake from close range to eagle the third and never looked back.

"Managing to hole that one was nice,” explained the former Stirling University Scholar. 

“I hit it really close again then on four and five to go five-under through five holes and was thinking to myself, 'okay Hannah, calm down now!'”

After following a bogey at the sixth with a double-bogey six at the eighth, McCook birdied the ninth to turn in 35, then picked up further shots at the 13th and 14th to get back to five-under and equal Elm Park's Anna Foster with the best score of the day.

“The birdies on 13 and 14 were both down to really good iron shots, I hit it into a couple of feet both times," said McCook, who won the Welsh Ladies Strokeplay last week after a playoff. 

"Winning last week has given me a huge boost so I am just riding the wave now and we will see what happens.”

County Louth's Deirdre Smith, who leads the domestic Scratch Cup order of Merit, recovered nicely from a wind-blown 86 on Friday with a 72 to move up to tied tenth on 10-over.

With tee times starting at 8 am on Sunday, the final group of McCook, Meekers and Lewis will tee off at 11.24am.

Irish Women's Open Strokeplay, County Louth GC (Par 74)

Detailed scores

150 H McCook (Sco) 81 69

151 R Meekers (Ned) 81 70

153 E Lewis (Eng) 83 70; C McGinty (Eng) 81 72; P Grant (Lisburn) 79 74

156 C Whitehead (Eng) 84 72; C Goadby (Sco) 82 74; S Lamb (Eng) 81 75; C Royston (RSA) 80 76

158 D Smith (Co. Louth) 86 72; G Batty (Sco) 85 73; J Ryan (Wal) 80 78

159 L Jones (Wal) 85 74; L Walsh (Castlewarden) 85 74; E Briggs (Sco) 84 75; E Corcoran (Grange) 82 77; C Gainer (Eng) 81 78

160 G Allman (Eng) 86 74; D Harry (Wal) 86 74; S Burke (Ballinrobe) 86 74; C Manzalini (Ita) 85 75; K Lanigan (Hermitage) 84 76; L Murray (Delgany) 79 81

161 I Holpfer (Austria) 91 70

162 A Foster (Elm Park) 93 69; A Sawyer (Eng) 85 77; B Bjornsdottir (Ice) 81 81

163 B Coulter (Kirkistown Castle) 88 75; G Carr (Milltown) 87 76; O Kelly (Wal) 86 77; O Purfield-Goulding (Co Louth) 86 77; K O'Neill (Douglas) 85 78; E Forbes (Royal Portrush) 84 79; M Giles (Eng) 83 80; K Dwyer (Rossmore) 82 81

164 C Worby (Wal) 90 74; V Clancy (Killarney) 89 75

165 J Hall (Eng) 91 74; R Mc Donnell (Elm Park) 89 76

166 A Nobilio (Ita) 91 75; L Hillier (Wal) 90 76; F Tynan (Wal) 88 78; C Leathem (Eng) 88 78; E Healey (Eng) 86 80; L Temple Lang (Elm Park) 84 82

167 S Byrne (Douglas) 82 85

168 K O'Connor (Wal) 91 77; J Ross (Clandeboye) 86 82

169 A Fanali (Ita) 94 75; L Belmati (Mor) 91 78; L Simpson (Massereene) 90 79; J Browne (Kilkenny) 85 84

CUT

170 B Rook (Eng) 90 80; M Doyle (The Heath) 89 81; L Bramwell (Wal) 87 83;

171 R Barton (Wal) 92 79;

172 E Thorne (Elm Park) 89 83;

173 A O'Riordan (Eng) 91 82;

175 B O'Keeffe (Eng) 91 84; K Coey (Clandeboye)  89  86;

176 D McCooke (Galgorm Castle) 94 82;

177 G Price (Eng) 97 80;

178 L Masding (Old Conna) 95 83; S Crowe (Naas) 94 84;

181 N Borg (Swe) 93 88;

186 S Burke (Mullingar) 95 91.