LOS ANGELES (AP) — Moriya Jutanugarn overcame a poor start and birdied the 18th for a hard-earned 1-under 70 to tie Jin Young Ko at 9 under on Saturday going into the final round of the HUGEL-JTBC LA Open.
Ko shot a 66 at Wilshire Country Club in her bid to become the year’s first two-time winner on the LPGA Tour. She won the Women’s Australian Open in February, her first victory as an official tour member.
Jutanugarn is trying to match younger sister Ariya as a tour champion. Seven-time winner Ariya was tied for 27th after a 72 in the third round.
Hall of Famer Inbee Park was two shots back in third after a 69. Her birdie putt for a share of the lead on 18 slid just by the hole.
Moriya Jutanugarn’s round included a double bogey on the par-4 first hole and a bogey on the par-4 sixth. She eagled the par-4 14th after holing out from the fairway 93 feet away. The ball took once bounce and went in, eliciting a stunned look from Jutanugarn before she high-fived her caddie.
Jutanugarn read the break perfectly to make birdie on 18 and share the lead with Ko.
Playing two groups ahead of Jutanugarn, Caroline Inglis also eagled the 14th. She briefly jumped up and down and smiled. She shot a 69 and was four shots back in a tie for sixth with Minjee Lee.
Aditi Ashok eagled 14 early in the round.
Ko did some scrambling of her own. Her ball found a sandy hazard on the 17th with a scoreboard and a winding creek in between her and the green 190 yards away. Her approach landed just off the green and she made par. Her round included six birdies and a bogey on 16.
Eun-Hee Ji (70) and American Marina Alex (72) were tied for fourth at 6 uner.
Top-ranked Shanshan Feng shot a 70 and was in a six-way tie for 12th at 2 under.
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