Sweden's Anna Nordqvist and Denmark's Nanna Koerstz Madsen were tied on nine under par at the top of the Women's British Open leaderboard after Saturday's third round at Carnoustie.
On a day blighted by heavy showers, Swede Nordqvist fired a best of week 65, while Koerstz Madsen highlighted her 68 with an eagle from 12 feet at the long 12th.
The pair led by one from the 2019 runner-up, Lizette Salas (70), while the group on seven under included American Lexi Thompson (70) and Scottish amateur Louise Duncan (68).
The new US star, Yealimi Koh, was out on her own on ten under but then became the latest casualty of Carnoustie's testing final holes.
Ten under with three to play, the 20-year-old -- third in last month's Evian Championship -- dropped shots at the 16th and 17th and then went into the burn and ran up a double-bogey six at the 18th to finish with a 71 for six under.
Nordqvist, a two-time major champion, won the Evian Championship in pouring rain four years ago, so she has shown she can perform in tough weather.
"I played so solid and I've had a great attitude this week," said the 34-year-old.
"I love being back in Scotland and the rain wasn't quite as bad as predicted. I had a few family and friends out there which was nice."
She also knows this week is important for European Solheim Cup selection as captain Catriona Matthew names her team on Monday.
"I need a pick so fingers crossed," said Nordqvist after the bogey free round.
"I have played in six of them and it is always a huge highlight to make the European team."
Koerstz Madsen is hoping that one more good round could clinch her Solheim Cup debut for Europe's defence in the USA in a fortnight's time.
She won on the European Tour in 2016 and also has three victories on the Symetra Tour and had a tie for third in the first major this season, the ANA Inspiration in California.
"I am trying not to focus on the Solheim," she said.
"I played good golf today and tomorrow I just have to calm my nerves and try and put together another good score."
Nelly Korda, the Olympic gold medallist, had a 70 to stay in contention on six under par and three off the lead.
Duncan had another outstanding day in front of her home crowd.
Playing alongside the professionals for a first time, the 21-year-old has far surpassed her expectations.
"I was just hoping to make the cut and enjoy every minute. So far, it's been amazing," she said.