Top-ranked Ko makes charge, near lead at Open

Golf

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 competition for a 3rd main championship Friday, enjoying the ultimate 5 holes in 3 underneath to drag inside 3 photographs of second-round leaders Minjee Lee and Mina Harigae on the U.S. Girls’s Open.

Harigae and Lee have 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 come back inside a shot of matching the bottom spherical within the occasion’s 77-year historical past, have been 7 underneath. Nordqvist had a 68.

Ko was tied for fifth at 6 underneath 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 received a significant since 2019, however she received 5 LPGA Tour occasions final 12 months and already has a win this 12 months.

“I do not take into consideration successful,” Ko mentioned. “I simply assume simply myself and simply concentrate on my sport. I simply discuss 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 planet, was 6 photographs off the tempo after a 69. She’s enjoying 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 would possibly preserve sole possession of the lead for a second straight day.

However Lee, ranked No. 4 on the planet, surged right into a tie within the afternoon after taking pictures 31 on the entrance 9. Lee has already received two LPGA Tour occasions this 12 months.

A number of gamers talked in regards to the gradual tempo of play on a day when gentle rain threatened cease play.

“Quite a lot of ready, so I really feel like I simply tried to tempo myself,” Nordqvist mentioned.

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 underneath.

“Received a number of dangerous breaks, however it’s what it’s. It is 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 a way more mature individual than when she first joined the LPGA Tour — and hopes that can assist down the stretch.

“I really feel like I’ve higher instruments to navigate these new experiences,” the 32-year-old Harigae mentioned. “I believe simply making an attempt to be calm, simply go about my day.”

She’s going to want that calmness with some big-time gamers proper behind her.

Danielle Kang, the No. 12 participant on the planet, barely made the minimize at 3 over after revealing she has a tumor on her backbone.

Yuka Saso was amongst those that did not make the minimize, 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 enjoying on the weekend embody 10-time main champion Annika Sorenstam and 2014 champion Michelle Wie West.

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