Monja Richards fired a one-under-par 71 at the Iriyama course, while Michaela Fletcher and Cara Gorlei both registered rounds of 73. Their combined 144 handed the team a share of 14th place with the People’s Republic of China and the Philippines on two-under-par 286.
“Although we slipped out of the top 10, the team is still high motivated,” said national coach Val Holland.
“Everyone is going out on Friday with a fighting attitude and I am sure we can expect some low scores in the last two rounds.”
Richards got going after an hour-long delay due to poor visibility, but turned in two-over after bogeys at the second and ninth holes.
The Mpumalanga golfer quickly wiped out the deficit with birdies at the 11th and 13th and knocked in another putt for a birdie at the 18th to put the seal on a flawless back nine.
Gorlei was solid with three birdies and four drops, while Fletcher birdied the par-five fifth.
“Monja mounted a superb challenge on the back nine to break par and Cara had very few errors, but she caught a few unlucky breaks,” said Holland.
“Michaela was in great form again and fired her irons at all the flags, but unfortunately for her the putts just didn’t drop.
“It was a good effort all around and the team is fired up to make a positive move when we return to the Iriymama course on Friday.”
Meanwhile overnight leaders Canada held on to pole position on 14-under-par 274 with a 139.
They have a two-shot lead over the host nation, who vaulted to second place after Minami Katsu and Eri Okayama combined for a 132 with respective rounds of 65 and 67.