History was made Saturday in Mesa. Fatima Fernandez Cano fired an 11-under par 61 in the third round of the Carlisle Arizona Women’s Golf Classic to match the lowest 18-hole score in Epson Tour history (set by Michaela Finn in the first round of the 2021 Epson Tour Championship) and set a competitive course record at Longbow Golf Club.
The Troy University alumna will take a one-shot lead into Sunday’s final round at 15-under overall.
“It’s my lowest score ever, I think even in practice to be honest. I don't think I've ever gone this low. Just had it going out there,” said Fernandez Cano, who hit 16 greens in regulation. “A really good day and go into tomorrow with a good mindset. Overall, it was a really good feeling with the course.”
Fernandez Cano came out firing with three straight birdies to open her round. Her lone bogey came at the par-4 4th, but she rebounded with a birdie at No. 5. She recorded her first eagle of the day on No. 9 to make the turn in 5-under.
“I got off to a really good start, had wedges in on Nos. 1 and 2 and a short iron into No. 3. Then No. 4, it was tough, just couldn't quite get a line off the tee,” Fernandez Cano said. “I got a little unlucky Nos. 6 and 8, had wedges in but my ball came to rest in pretty big divots.”
The back nine is where Fernandez Cano turned up the desert heat.
“She was on a different level,” said Fernandez Cano’s caddie James Longman.
After a birdie on No. 10, Fernandez Cano spotted two pars before a hole-out eagle at No. 13. She added three birdies the rest of the way to go bogey-free coming in.
“I’m happy with the fact I stayed aggressive,” Fernandez Cano said. “No. 13, had a bad lie in the fairway. Luckily, we had a really good club at it and good shot from 145 yards. Then No. 15, had an eagle putt lip out and that's when I knew this round was getting close to a number in the very low 60s.”
Laura Restrepo and Haylee Harford each carded a 5-under 67 in the third round with six birdies to sit in outright second place at 14-under and third at 13-under, respectively. Rounding out the top five at –12 and in a tie for fourth are Alana Uriell (67) and Sophie Hausmann (70). Ruixin Liu (72), the defending champion of the Carlisle Arizona Women’s Golf Classic, shares 10th at 9-under.
“I'm very happy with how I played today. Never really got in trouble, just consistent,” said Restrepo. “I made some good putts and got off to a good start. I'm just excited to be in contention.”