The Bromborough Golf Club member wanted to shoot four scores in the 70s around Royal Dornoch and see where that got her on the leaderboard.
The 63-year-old English player has managed three so far, including a third round 78 in the strongest winds to go with opening scores of 72 and 79. She stands at 14-over-par, with a two-shot lead over American Lara Tennant, the 2019 champion.
Of her three sub-80 scores, her third round 78 stands out by a long shot.
“I said I wanted to shoot three scores in the 70s and I’ve done that so far,” Berry said. “I’m very proud of today’s score because the conditions were just so difficult.”
A balancing act
“I had two birdies on the way out today and then of course we turned into the wind and bogeys were an acceptable score. It was extremely tough to keep control of your swing, to keep your balance, to stay focused.
“I had a great caddie in Carol Rawthore. She won this in 2014 and is a member of the club. When we got to the greens she just said, ‘Come on Caroline, let’s just try and two-putt and if it goes in it’s a bonus.’ She kept me really focussed.
“I can’t explain how pleased I am to be in this position. As I said at the start of the week, I would take four scores in the 70s and see where it got me, because I knew the wind was going to gust around this course, which is tough anyway never mind the wind.”
Par becomes irrelevant
Berry wasn’t focussing on par as she played the third round, she was just trying to get the ball into the hole in as few shots as possible
She added, “The best thing about today was that it was the same conditions for everyone. Par was irrelevant because it was at least a three-club wind. It was extremely difficult and I’m thrilled to have played in these conditions in 78 strokes.”
Besides the 2019 Women’s Senior Amateur Championship, Tennant has won the last three US Senior Amateurs. However, she’s never experienced the conditions she faced in the third round over Royal Dornoch.
Toughest conditions ever
“These are the most difficult conditions I’ve ever played in,” Tennant said. “For 18 straight holes it was extremely difficult. I’ve never played in anything like this.
“The hardest part was just staying in the moment because every shot was so unique. You just couldn’t hit a typical shot out there in those winds. You had to be a little bit more creative and trusting of a swing that was hard to control because you were getting knocked off balance by the wind.”
Tennant returned an eight-over-par 80 and found it hard to believe she still has a chance of a second title.
“Absolutely no way would I have thought I’d be in contention after three rounds where I’ve shot these scores,” she admitted. “It just shows you how difficult the conditions are, how difficult the course is.
“I wasn’t even thinking about par today. Par-4s into the wind I just pretended they were par-5s and tried to finish them with as few shots as possible. But we all play the same conditions. It’s a great course, a great tournament and I’m happy to be here.”
Overnight leaders Terrill Samuel of Canada and Peru’s Anna Morales returned rounds of 85 and 89 respectively. Samuel is in fourth place on 18-over, one shot behind England’s Emma Brown. Morales is tied fifth on 22-over with Aussie Sue Wooster.