China’s home hope Liu Yu surged into the outright lead as third round play was suspended due to bad light at the World Ladies Championship on Saturday.
The 20-year-old second year professional, who plays mainly on the US Symetra Tour, played the back nine of the Olazabal Course at Mission Hills Resort Dongguan in four-under-par to hold a one stroke lead at seven-under.
She will go into the final day looking to become the second Chinese winner of the championship and first since Shanshan Feng won the inaugural event in Haikou four years ago.
Liu began the third round strongly on Saturday afternoon, making an eagle three on the 11th before making birdie on the 12th. She bogeyed the 13th but quickly recovered with another birdie on 14 and edged one ahead of South Koreans Oh Ji Hyun and Ji Han Sol with another birdie on the 18th.
Focused on her game, she had no idea that she was leading when she left the course.
“It was totally unexpected. It’s a really strong field with quality players from the Ladies European Tour and Korean LPGA as well as the China LPGA Tour,” said Liu, who helped Duke University to win the NCAA team title in 2014 having won twice on the China LPGA Tour as an amateur, at the 2012 Chongqing Challenge and 2013 SRIXON XXIO Ladies Open.
“I’m happy with my position today. And for tomorrow, I’ll just keep my strategy and make it keep going. There are so many good players here, anything could happen. I just focus on my game. It definitely would be fantastic to win this week,” Liu said.
South Korean Ko Jin Young, who together with Lee Jung Min, has a combined total of nine-under-par and leads the team competition for pairs by 10 shots over France, is tied for fourth place in the individual strokeplay with Lee Seung Hyun. South Koreans Park Ji Young and Kim Bo Kyung share sixth position with Lin Tzu-Chi of Chinese Taipei.
England’s Florentyna Parker is part of a group on two-under-par after she played 15 holes of her third round in five-under-par before play was suspended for the third consecutive day.
The former Deloitte and Italian Ladies Open winner, Parker eagled the 11th hole twice in the same day as she had already completed nine holes of her second round earlier in the morning.
After beginning her third round at 14:20, she bogeyed the first hole before making a pair of birdies on the second and the third. She bogeyed the eighth and then picked up another stroke on the ninth before making her second eagle of the day on the 11th.
“I kept hitting the cart path off the tee. I did it twice. In the afternoon I used a 7-iron to hit to one metre and this morning I did the same thing using a 9-iron,” said Parker.
“This morning I played quite nicely and felt warmed up this afternoon as I’d played the course. I hope to continue to play well and I’d take three pars when I return tomorrow morning.”
Round three will resume at 7.30am local time on Sunday, with the fourth and final round beginning at 9.30am and the last tee time at 11.35am.
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