Major champions Sung Hyun Park, Ariya Jutanugarn and Shanshan Feng sit atop the leaderboard alongside American Tiffany Joh, who is seeking her first LPGA victory, heading in to the final round of the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic in Oneida.
In what looked set to be a procession for overnight leader Sung Hyun Park, who stood on the par five 15th tee with a three shot lead having made seven birdies and a solitary bogey through 14 holes, the field was given hope.
Uncharacteristically Park hit her approach shot in to the water en-route to a double bogey, which was followed by a bogey at the par four 16th to bring her back to the pack.
Park eventually signed for a round of 69 (-3), which was matched by her playing partner 17-year-old Monday qualifier Yealimi Noh, who is one stroke back in solo fifth.
Park, who has a chance to capture back-to-back titles on the LPGA tomorrow, is not getting ahead of herself.
“It would definitely mean a lot to win back-to-back and I’ll try and focus on my play and play without regrets.
“Although the leaderboard is crowded, I’ll try my best tomorrow and focus on every single shot.”
Park will be paired with Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn in the penultimate group on Sunday at 3:15pm after Jutanugarn posted a round of 67 (-5) to move to 20-under-par.
Jutanugarn may not have been at her best again today but the former world no. 1 and two-time major champion still found a way to score at Thornberry Creek.
“I would say it’s getting better. Not like really good but better than yesterday. I feel I have a lot of chances to make a birdie but I missed a lot of shorts putts today.
“Everybody has a chance to shoot 10 under and win the tournament tomorrow so I hope tomorrow everything can come together.”
Feng and Joh, who were paired together on Saturday, will once again find themselves in each other’s company as they posted rounds of 65 (-7) and 66 (-6) respectively to make the final group off at 3:25 pm.
Much to their delight.
Feng said, “You never see Tiffany down, she’s always like energy up and cheering for you when you play well. I love playing with her.”
Joh added, “Oh, man, every time I see Shanshan on the pairing sheet next to my name I get really excited. She plays really quick, she’s really refreshing and I just love watching her play. I could say I’m a big fan.”
The pair fed off each other throughout, both bogeying the 1st hole before trading birdies on holes 3, 5 and 11 then both made eagle on the par 5 13th hole.
Feng, who became China’s first major champion in 2012 and China’s first world no. 1 male or female in 2017, leads the field in eagles made, having also made two on Thursday.
Monday qualifier, Yealimi Noh continues to impress and sits one shot back in solo fifth place at 19-under-par.
America’s Elizabeth Szokol made the tournament’s first hole-in-one on the par 3 second hole from 129 yards with a PW. As a result of the ace, CME Group will donate $20,000 to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
“It was pretty awesome. It is actually my first hole-in-one, so that was pretty great.”
Defending champion Sei Young Kim sits in T32 after a bogey-free round of 66 (-6).
Play gets underway at 9:45am with Cheyenne Woods and Clariss Guce leading the field off the first tee.