South Korea’s Ji Eun-hee put herself in position to claim a second major title after grabbing a one-shot lead in Saturday’s third round of the LPGA Championship in Pittsford, New York.
The 26-year-old, who won the 2009 US Women’s Open, fired a three-under par-69 at a rain-softened Locust Hill Country Club to post a four-under total 212.
“I just keep simple things, fairway and greens because this course has really long rough,” Ji told reporters after mixing five birdies with two bogeys.
Australian veteran Karrie Webb was alone in second, after carding a 68, with Italy’s Giulia Sergas (69) among a group of four players knotted at two under.
Level with Sergas were American Stacy Lewis (70), former champion Suzann Pettersen of Norway (71) and South Korea’s Park In-bee (72).
After the start of the third round was delayed by more than two hours because of heavy rain and unplayable course conditions, Ji made the most of her pinpoint iron play to break clear of a congested leaderboard.
Asked how she felt holding the 54-hole lead in the second women’s major of the year, the South Korean replied: “A little bit nervous with that, but I’m trying to keep it simple and just play my game.”
Webb was delighted to recover from a bogey at the par-four first with five birdies over her final 11 holes that lifted her into contention.
“I’ve done my work to give myself a shot,” said the 37-year-old Australian, who has won 38 LPGA Tour titles, including seven majors.
American Paula Creamer, whose only major victory came at the 2010 US Women’s Open, was among a group of seven players locked at one under after returning a 73.
Overnight leader Pak Se-ri of South Korea, winner of five major LPGA titles, battled to a 76 to tumble five strokes off the pace at one-over par.
Taiwan’s world No. 1 Yani Tseng, who won the title last year by 10 strokes with a 19-under-par total, carded a 74 to end the day a distant 13 shots off the lead at nine-over.
Fellow Taiwanese Candie Kung was two shots better off on seven-over after a 75, while Amy Hung was on eight-over after a 73.
Additional reporting by staff writer