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Katherine Kirk holds four-shot lead at LPGA Classic

By The Sports Xchange
Katherine Kirk holds a four-shot lead at the LPGA Classic. Photo by Lukas Coch/EPA
Katherine Kirk holds a four-shot lead at the LPGA Classic. Photo by Lukas Coch/EPA

Katherine Kirk continued her torrid play at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic on Saturday in Oneida, Wis.

Kirk expanded her lead to four shots with a 7-under-par 65 in the third round that left her at 20-under 196.

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Ashleigh Buhai of South Africa moved into solo second place at 16 under through 54 holes after matching Kirk's 65.

Ayako Uehara of Japan also shot a third-round 65 and was tied for third with Jodi Ewart Shadoff of England, who posted a 66.

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The 35-year-old Kirk couldn't match her career-best 63 from Friday but remained on a roll. After a birdie-bogey start and another bogey at No. 5, she birdied eight of her final 13 holes and saved par on the closing hole by making a long putt.

"I know I can putt well, but I think I'm like pushing the limits right now," Kirk said. "It's fun. I mean, I made, I think, a 19-footer on 17 and a 19-footer there for par. It's unexpected, but you certainly take them when you can."

In the final round on Sunday, the Australian will have a chance to break the LPGA Tour's 72-hole record of 27 under by Annika Sorenstam at the 2001 Standard Register Ping in Phoenix and equaled by Sei young Kim in the 2016 Founders Cup in Phoenix.

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Kirk's last victory on the tour came in 2010.

"I've been playing pretty well lately, trending at least in the right direction, so I mean, I like this golf course," Kirk said. "It suits my eye, and I think it's going to take another low one tomorrow. You saw some really good scores out there today. It's not over until it's over, right?"

Buhai recovered from a bogey start at No. 1 with eight birdies, including two stretches with three in row from Nos. 7 to 9 and Nos. 11 to 13.

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"I had birdie chances just about on every hole after the first hole, and I missed a few and I was still even, and then I just had to stay patient," Buhai said. "I knew I was hitting good shots, and then I birdied 7, 8 and 9, and that kind of got me going, and then made four birdies on the back. Yeah, it was good fun."

Another stroke behind Uehara and Ewart Shadoff in a tie for fifth were Norway's Suzann Pettersen (66), Tiffany Joh (66), Cristie Kerr (67), Angel Yin (67), Megan Khang (67), Jaye Marie Green (70) and Germany's Sandra Gal (72).

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Gal completed the suspended second round on Saturday morning with a 64 and followed with a 72 in the afternoon.

Three of the top four players in the world rankings are sitting out this event ahead of the U.S. Women's Open next week.

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