Canada’s Maude-Aimée Leblanc one stroke off lead at Women’s Scottish Open

Maude-Aimee Leblanc, of Canada, hits from the 18th tee during the first round of the U.S. Women's Open golf tournament at the Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C. on Thursday, June 2, 2022. (Chris Carlson/AP Photo)

Canada’s Maude-Aimée Leblanc enters the final round of the Women’s Scottish Open with a chance to capture her first career LPGA Tour title after matching the best score of the day on Saturday — a 6-under 66.

Leblanc is 14 under through three rounds, one stroke back of co-leaders Lydia Ko of New Zealand and Celine Boutier of France on a tight leaderboard. Germany’s Leonie Harm is level with Leblanc at 14 under, while Ji Eun-Hee of South Korea and Lilia Vu of the U.S. are at 13 under.

“The adrenaline tends to go up when I’m in situations like these, so tomorrow is going to be important to try to stay calm and focus on my breathing and try to slow everything down,” Leblanc said after her round Saturday.

“It’s exciting for sure. I feel pretty good with my swing right now and my putting as well. I have really good thoughts for tomorrow and just try to repeat the same thing.”

The 33-year-old from Sherbrooke, Que., had five birdies on the front nine in the third round and capped her day with a 10-footer for birdie on the par-5 18th.

Leblanc will have a chance to give Canada back-to-back winners on the LPGA Tour after Brooke Henderson won last week at the Evian Championship — a major — in France. Henderson, from Smiths Falls, Ont., took this week off.

Leblanc retired from professional golf in 2019, but decided to make a comeback late in 2020 and then earned her LPGA Tour card in 2021 by finishing sixth on the then-Symetra Tour.

“I always felt like I had more to accomplish. That break was really necessary,” she said Saturday. “People underestimate how hard it is mentally and physically out here. It’s important to take good care of your mental and physical health.

“I have a different perspective. I think I try not to take it as too seriously or get too down on myself. Try to lower the expectations a little bit and that tends to free my game a little bit more.”

The Canadian has two top-10 finishes — topped by a tie for fourth at the JTBC Classic in March — and sits 62nd on the LPGA Tour standings this year. The top 80 at season’s end retain their tour cards.

Leblanc, ranked 137th in the world, will be an underdog on Sunday. Ko is the world No. 4, while Boutier is No. 25.

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