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Feng closing on No 1 spot in Hainan

China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-11 07:13

China's Feng Shanshan moved into contention for her third title of the year on Friday when the world No 3 fired a 1-over 73 in windy conditions on Hainan Island to take a one-shot lead through three rounds of the Blue Bay LPGA.

The 28-year-old Guangdong native was on 7-under 209 at the $2.1 million tournament, a co-sanctioned event between the China and US LPGA Tours. Thailand's Moriya Jutanugarn moved up the leaderboard to second after carding a 4-under 68, while overnight leader Ashleigh Buhai of South Africa struggled to a 76 to sit two shots off the lead.

World No 1 Park Sung-hyun of South Korea carded a 68 to sit equal-fourth with compatriot Choi Na-yeon (68).

After a birdie four at the 14th hole to get to 9-under, Feng, a winner in Japan last week, appeared to be in command at Jian Lake Blue Golf Club. However, as playing partner Buhai stumbled to three bogeys and a double bogey over the back nine, the China No 1 followed suit with back-to-back bogeys starting at the 16th.

"Overall, I'm happy with my performance today," said Feng. "Today was very, very windy. I really held my ground, especially with my approach shots to the greens. Obviously I made a lot of mistakes and I had a lot of recovery shots as well."

If Feng wins tomorrow and Park finishes in a tie for third with two other players or worse, Feng is projected to move to the top of the Rolex World Ranking next week.

"I really don't want to think about it because this is something that could happen after the tournament," Feng said.

"All I can do is to do my best, play shot by shot and be focused and be concentrated. It's going to be a joy tomorrow."

Looking to spoil Feng's homecoming party will be Moriya Jutanugarn. The older sister of world No 9 Ariya Jutanugarn (74), Moriya moved into contention for her first US LPGA win when she carded three birdies over her last five holes.

"It's been pretty solid so far this week," said Moriya, a 23-year-old from Bangkok who has posted 10 top-10 finishes on the US LPGA this season, including a tie for fifth in Japan last week.

"It just helps to be patient a lot on this golf course. I'm really enjoying this week."

Ye Lei was the top amateur after the Chinese teenager shot 78 to sit 15 strokes behind the lead.

China Daily

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