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Ko surges, 3 shots back of Lee, Harigae at U.S. Women’s Open | Sports

SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. — Jin Young Ko by no means turns out to fret. Nor does she let up.

The international’s No. 1 participant vaulted into rivalry for a 3rd primary championship Friday, enjoying the general 5 holes in 3 below to drag inside of 3 photographs of second-round Minjee Lee and Mina Harigae on the U.S. Women’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 primary champion Anna Nordqvist and Hye-Jin Choi, who shot a 64 to come back inside of shot of matching the bottom around within the match’s 77-year historical past, had been 7 below. Nordqvist had a 68.

Ko was once tied for 5th at 6 below with Swedish novice Ingrid Lindblad. Ko shot 67, and Lindblad adopted up her match amateur-record 65 on Thursday with a 71.

Ko hasn’t gained a significant since 2019, however gained 5 LPGA Tour occasions final 12 months and already has a win this 12 months.

“I don’t think about winning,” Ko mentioned. “I just think just myself and just focus on my game. I just talk with my caddie and have fun.”

Ko made her transfer with a birdie on No. 14, then pounded a 3-wood into the fairway at the par-5 fifteenth and made a 65-foot eagle putt.

Nelly Korda, the No. 2 participant on the planet, was once six photographs off the tempo after a 69. She’s enjoying in her first event since present process surgical procedure on her left arm to mend a blood clot.

It appeared for some time like Harigae would possibly deal with sole ownership of the lead for a moment directly day.

But Lee, ranked No. 4 on the planet, surged right into a tie within the afternoon after capturing 31 at the entrance 9. Lee has already gained two LPGA occasions this 12 months.

Several avid gamers talked in regards to the gradual tempo of play on a day the place mild rain threatened forestall play.

“A lot of waiting, so I feel like I just tried to pace myself,” Nordqvist mentioned.

Lexi Thompson struggled down the stretch simply as she did within the ultimate around final 12 months’s U.S. Open when she surrendered a five-shot lead after a back-nine meltdown and misplaced.

But she controlled to near with a birdie for a 69 that left her 3 below.

“Got a few bad breaks, but it is what it is. It’s golf,” mentioned Thompson, the No. 6 participant on the planet.

Harigae, who performed collegiately about 80 miles away at Duke and idolized North Carolina’s Michael Jordan rising up, mentioned she is way mature individual since she first joined the LPGA Tour — and hopes that may lend a hand down the stretch.

“I feel like I have better tools to navigate these new experiences,” the 32-year-old Harigae mentioned. “I think just trying to be calm, just go about my day.”

She will need that calmness with some big-time players right behind her.

Yuka Saso was among those who didn’t make the cut, marking the second straight year the defending champion has failed advance past to the weekend. She finished at 9 over.

Among the other notables who won’t be playing on the weekend include 10-time major champion Annika Sorenstam and 2014 champion Michelle Wie West.

Sorenstam, who earned her way into the event by winning last year’s U.S. Women’s Senior Open, spent a good portion of the back nine in the sand and the 51-year-old seemed to tire as the round dragged on. She shot 81.

Despite the frustrating round, she broke into a smile when she received a hug from son Will as she walked off the 18th green.

“I knew what I had to do today,” Sorenstam, who completed at 13-over 155. “I used to be capturing for par or higher, and coming in right here I believe I mentioned I felt just right about the whole thing. Just no longer actually certain what took place nowadays.

Wie West, enjoying within the second-to-last profession event, of the 12 months, overlooked the minimize through two strokes, capturing 73-74. Wie West plans to play within the 2023 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach sooner than retiring.

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