SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. — Jin Younger Ko by no means appears to emphasize. Nor does she let up.
The world’s No. 1 participant vaulted into rivalry for a 3rd main championship Friday, taking part in the ultimate 5 holes in 3 below to drag inside 3 photographs of second-round leaders Minjee Lee and Mina Harigae on the U.S. Girls’s Open.
Harigae and Lee had been at 9-under 133 after 36 holes at Pine Needles. Lee shot a 5-under 66, and Harigae had a 69.
Three-time main champion Anna Nordqvist and Hye-Jin Choi, who shot a 64 to return inside a shot of matching the bottom spherical within the occasion’s 77-year historical past, had been 7 below. Nordqvist had a 68.
Ko was tied for fifth at 6 below with Swedish beginner Ingrid Lindblad. Ko shot 67, and Lindblad adopted up her occasion amateur-record 65 on Thursday with a 71.
Ko hasn’t gained a significant since 2019, however she gained 5 LPGA Tour occasions final 12 months and already has a win this 12 months.
“I do not take into consideration profitable,” Ko stated. “I simply suppose simply myself and simply give attention to my recreation. I simply speak with my caddie and have enjoyable.”
Ko made her transfer with a birdie on No. 14, then pounded a 3-wood into the inexperienced on the par-5 fifteenth and made a 65-foot eagle putt.
Nelly Korda, the No. 2 participant on the earth, was 6 photographs off the tempo after a 69. She’s taking part in in her first event since present process surgical procedure on her left arm to repair a blood clot.
It seemed for some time like Harigae may preserve sole possession of the lead for a second straight day.
However Lee, ranked No. 4 on the earth, surged right into a tie within the afternoon after taking pictures 31 on the entrance 9. Lee has already gained two LPGA Tour occasions this 12 months.
A number of gamers talked in regards to the gradual tempo of play on a day when mild rain threatened cease play.
“Lots of ready, so I really feel like I simply tried to tempo myself,” Nordqvist stated.
Lexi Thompson struggled down the stretch, simply as she did within the remaining spherical of final 12 months’s U.S. Girls’s Open, when she surrendered a 5-shot lead after a back-nine meltdown and misplaced.
However she managed to shut with a birdie for a 69 that left her 3 below.
“Acquired just a few dangerous breaks, however it’s what it’s. It is golf,” stated Thompson, the No. 6 participant on the earth.
Harigae, who performed collegiately about 80 miles away at Duke and idolized North Carolina’s Michael Jordan rising up, stated she is a way more mature particular person than when she first joined the LPGA Tour — and hopes that may assist down the stretch.
“I really feel like I’ve higher instruments to navigate these new experiences,” the 32-year-old Harigae stated. “I feel simply attempting to be calm, simply go about my day.”
She is going to want that calmness with some big-time gamers proper behind her.
Danielle Kang, the No. 12 participant on the earth, barely made the lower at 3 over after revealing she has a tumor on her backbone.
Yuka Saso was amongst those that did not make the lower, marking the second straight 12 months the defending champion has didn’t advance to the weekend. She completed at 9 over.
Among the many different notables who will not be taking part in on the weekend embody 10-time main champion Annika Sorenstam and 2014 champion Michelle Wie West.