Finland’s Elina Nummenpaa led by a stroke after the fourth round of Lalla Aicha Tour School with just one round to play in the Ladies European Tour’s final qualifying tournament for 2014.
Playing in warm and sunny conditions, Nummenpaa fired a three-under-par 69 at Golf Al Maaden in Marrakech to finish the day at seven-under-par, ahead of Germany’s Steffi Kirchmayr, who had a four-under-par 68 at Samanah Golf Club, both courses having hosted the players over four rounds on alternate days. Tee times on the Samanah course were delayed by an hour and 15 minutes due to heavy rain overnight which caused damage to the course, however there was no rain overnight at nearby at Al Maaden.
After the conclusion of the fourth round, 61 players made the cut at seven-over-par. Those on that number or better will play the final round at Samanah Golf Club on Wednesday. Players who failed to make the 72-hole cut are eligible for LET Membership in Category 12a, but will have limited playing opportunities. In the final round, the top 30 players and those tied will be eligible for membership in Category 8a, while those in positions 31 and below will be eligible for Category 9b.
The 30-year-old Nummenpaa, from Tampere, who finished 171at on the 2013 ISPS HANDA Order of Merit after making two cuts from 11 appearances, recently showed form with a tie for eighth at the Hero Women’s Indian Open.
She had four birdies – at the second, seventh, 12th and 17th holes - and just one bogey at the ninth in her fourth round. She said: “It was the same kind of day as the previous rounds: one shot at a time and trying to stay present and positive. Not a perfect round but lots of good things. I will stick to that mentality tomorrow because there is still a lot of golf left in the tournament.”
Kirchmayr had four birdies in a bogey-free round and said: “It was a really good round and I could have made a few more birdies on the front but on the back I made three good saves on 10, 13 and 14. I missed a few birdie putts coming in and made a save on 18 so it was a really good, stress-free round. I felt like this course was tougher to score on but today I hit it really solid and so I had some good putts inside 15 feet.”
Viva Schlasberg of Sweden finished on five-under-par with a sizzling 66 containing six birdies which at Al Maaden which saw her move up from a share of 30th into a tie for third with Tessa Teachman of the United States and Norwegian Caroline Martens.
Home hope Maha Haddioui from Morocco was an early starter and carded a level 72 at Samanah Golf Club. She finished the day on two-over-par in a tie for 30th position.
The final round gets under way at 8.45am local time on Wednesday, with the leading players starting at 10.40am.