THIS really is uncharted territory for Kelsey MacDonald. A bogey, bogey finish to her third round in the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open at Dumbarnie Links may have been a bit of a scunner for the Scot but a spot in the top-10 with 18 holes to play is not to be sniffed at.

On another exacting day in gusty Fife, which asked more questions than the Frost & Nixon interviews, MacDonald gave herself the chance of a potentially career changing finish.

While England’s Charley Hull, Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand and the USA’s Ryann O’Toole share the lead on nine-under, MacDonald sits in a tie for seventh on five-under after a topsy-turvy 72.

Since the domestic showpiece became a fixture on the glitz and glamour of the lucrative LPGA Tour, MacDonald has missed the cut three times while her highest finish has been 59th. Now, the 30-year-old is lurking just four shots off the pace in an event which boasts a first prize of some £190,000 - more than she has earned in her entire Ladies European Tour career.

With places on offer too for next week’s AIG Women’s Open at Carnoustie, MacDonald certainly has plenty to play for today. “Just go for it,” she declared as she set her sights on a final day assault.

MacDonald had not done much wrong during a neatly assembled third round until she caught the lip of the bunker on the 10th and eventually racked up a double-bogey six. It did not knock her for six, however.

Like a panel beater dunting out the dents in a damaged motor, MacDonald swiftly set about repairing the bashes and a birdie at 11 was followed by another on the 12th, where she almost holed her approach. A further gain on 15 had the former Scottish Women’s Amateur champion clinging to the coat tails of the leaders.

The brace of late bogeys at 17 and 18, however, left her to reflect on what might have been. There will be time to mull over this, that and the other when it is all done and dusted tonight, though.

“Obviously I was gutted with my finish and on 18, I just had a wedge in my hand and came up short,” she added of that lapse. “But I would have taken level-par at the start of the day. I'm absolutely delighted where I am, though, and just excited for the final round.”

It should be a closing day of bountiful twists and turns. Jutanugarn, with two majors and a Scottish Open crown on a shimmering cv, has seen it and done it at the top level but the brilliant Thai, who led by three overnight, is not immune to golfing hiccups.

She too leaked bogeys on 17 and 18 at the end of a trying, eventful round which also featured a double-bogey and five birdies as she kept the door ajar for others. “I kind of got everything,” she said of a card that was like a bag of Pick and Mix at the cinema. “It wasn’t my best day but I still have plenty to be positive about.”

So too does O’Toole. The 34-year-old Californian is still seeking that breakthrough win after a decade on the LPGA Tour and she bolstered her push with a four-under 68 that was illuminated by an eagle on the long 15th.

Hull, meanwhile, knows what it is like to get the job done on the LPGA circuit and a 69 kept her right in the thick of it. Hull’s victory in the circuit’s Tour Championship may have been five years ago now but the Kettering golfer continues to employ some of the tactics that helped her to that significant conquest.

“When I won in 2016, I didn't look at the leaderboard the whole week until I stepped on to the 18th green and saw I was two shots ahead,” reflected the 25-year-old Solheim Cup player. “This week I haven't really been looking at the leaderboard either. So yeah, I'll just do that on Sunday.”

Ashley Buhai had a best-of-the-day 67 to sit in a share of fourth on eight-under alongside Thai teenager, Atthaya Thitikul while major winners Anna Nordqvist (six-under) and Lydia Ko (five-under) will still fancy their chances on a tightly-packed board.