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LPGA: Shanshan Feng clings to one-stroke lead at U.S. Open

By Rick Woelfel, The Sports Xchange
LPGA: Shanshan Feng clings to one-stroke lead at U.S. Open
Shanshan Feng holds a one-stroke lead heading into the final round of the U.S. Women's Open. Photo by Gary C. Caskey/UPI | License Photo

BEDMINSTER, N.J. -- Shanshan Feng remains at the head of the pack after three rounds of the 72nd U.S. Women's Open.

Feng, a native of China, sank a late birdie to shoot a 1-under par 71 on Saturday over the Old Course at Trump National Golf Club and stands at 9-under 207 after 54 holes.

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Come Sunday, the 27-year old will be trying to win her second major championship; she won what was then the LPGA Championship in 2012. She'll also be attempting to become the first Women's Open champion in exactly 40 years to hold the lead alone after all four rounds.

Feng is being pursued by a host of challengers.

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Amy Yang and amateur Hye-Jin Choi, both of South Korea, reside at 8-under 208 after rounds of 2-under par 70. Sung Hyun Park of South Korea, who was the 36-hole leader at this championship last year, carded a 67 and stands at 6-under 210.

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Mirim Lee, 2011 Women's Open champion So Yeo Ryu, and Jeongeun6 Lee all of South Korea are at 5-under 211.

Feng played steady golf over the course, which played to 6,699 yards and a par of 72. Playing in front of a gallery that included President Donald Trump, she began her round with 17 consecutive pars, extending that stretch to 23 starting from the 13th hole on Friday.

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She failed to convert three makeable birdie chances, at the 15th, 16th, and 17th before rolling in a 4-foot birdie putt at the par-5 18th, which was playing to just 491 yards on Saturday.

Choi, who is trying to become just the second amateur to win this championship, bogeyed her opening hole but was solid after that. Her round was highlighted by birdies at the eighth, 11th, and 16th.

Yang, who finished second in this event in both 2012 and 2015, struggled at times on her opening nine, but birdied 10 and 11 before gaining a share of the lead with a birdie at 17. Feng, who was playing just behind her, rolled in her own birdie putt.

American Stacy Lewis made an early charge, recording five birdies through her first 10 holes to get to within a shot of the lead at 7-under par. But she took a triple bogey at the par-4 11th before closing her round with a 10 to wind up at 2-over par 218.

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NOTES: The last Women's Open champion to lead solo wire to wire was Hollis Stacy in 1977. She is the ninth Women's Open champion to achieve that distinction. Since then, four other winners, most recently Annika Sorenstam in 2006 have led after every round but not always alone. ... Hye-Jin Choi is attempting to become the youngest Women's Open champion in history. Inbee Park won the first of her two Women's Open titles in 2008 at the age of 19 years, 11 months, and 18 days. ... If a playoff is necessary Sunday, it will be a three-hole aggregate. ... The Women's Open was first played in 1946 under the auspices of the Women's Professional Golf Association. The LPGA, which was officially formed at the Women's Open in 1950, took over operation of the championship before asking the USGA to take it over in 1953.

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