Annika Sorenstam only managed a 3-over 75 in her penultimate round before retiring, badly damaging her hopes of ending a stellar career by winning the Dubai Ladies Masters for a third straight time.
|Annika Sorenstam looks unlikely to have her dream farewell [GALLO/GETTY]
Sorenstam held a one-shot lead going into the third round but shot four bogeys to go with just one birdie as she dropped down to a tie for sixth place, four shots behind leader Anja Monke of Germany.
Monke shot a 4-under 68 for a total of 9-under 207, two shots ahead of Denmark's Iben Tinning (70) and Veronica Zorzi of Italy (71).
"I am not giving up by any chance. I just walked off the course disappointed, but I will be ready for tomorrow,'' said Sorenstam, who is chasing her 90th individual title.
"I really don't know what emotions I will have tomorrow. It's nothing that I have practiced before. It's a day we all knew was coming and it's now here within 24 hours. So, I will just embrace it and go with the emotions.''
Zorzi could have tied for the lead but she was handed a two-stroke penalty for failing to replace her ball in the right spot after it moved on the 15th green.
Sorenstam made her only birdie of the day on the par-5 third hole, and then followed it up with four bogeys.
"It was a tough day today,'' she said. "I really don't know what to say other than nothing really happened today. I thought I hit some good shots, but just could not get anything going. It's just golf.''
Monke is chasing her second Ladies European Tour title, but said she wouldn't bee too disappointed if Sorenstam manages to overtake her.
"She is my idol, and an idol for every girl that touches a golf club,'' Monke said.
"If she plays well and wins tomorrow, I will be really happy for her.''
British veteran Laura Davies was also in contention after a 71 put her tied for fourth with Sweden's Sophie Gustafson at 6-under 210.