BELMONT, Mich. (AP) — Amy Yang birdied all five par 5s at Blythefield and shot her third straight 5-under 67 to take the third-round lead Saturday in the Meijer LPGA Classic.
Yang rebounded from bogeys on the par-3 11th and 13th to birdie the par-5 14th, par-4 17th and par-5 18th to reach 15-under 201 on the tree-lined course.
“All week my ball-striking has been really good,” Yang said. “I was giving myself good chances out there. I was a little bit off with putting speed during the round, made a couple mistakes, but I tried to stay patient and just keep trying throughout the round.”
The 33-year-old Yang has won all four of her LPGA Tour titles in Asia — the LPGA KEB-HanaBank in 2013 in her native South Korea and the Honda LPGA Thailand in 2015, 2017 and 2019.
The Grand Rapids-area event is the final tournament before the major KPMG Women’s PGA next week at Baltusrol and the U.S. Women's Open at Pebble Beach on July 6-9.
“I know KPMG is coming and another two weeks after that U.S. Open is coming,” Yang said. “Always doing my best to win my first major out there. If I play well this week it’ll definitely give me good confidence going into a major.”
Ashleigh Buhai, the 34-year-old South African who won the ShopRite LPGA Classic last week in New Jersey, was a stroke back with second-round leader Ayaka Furue of Japan and Xiyu Lin of China.
Buhai followed a bogey on 17 with an eagle 18 for a 66.
“Mindset is exactly the same as the last few months,” Buhai said. “Just trying to do my job well when I get to the ball. Only focus on one thing that I’m trying to focus on, particularly when I’m swinging, chipping, just do that one thing well. When I’m putting, try to do that one thing well.”
Lin also shot 66, and Furue had a 69.
Ariya Jutanugarn (66), Hyo Joo Kim (69) and Leona Maguire (69) were 13 under. Defending champion Jennifer Kupcho (69) was 12 under with Manon De Roey (69) and Lindsey Weaver-Wright (69).
Kupcho had an eagle and four birdies, but made three bogeys for the second day in a row.
“Definitely didn’t play as well as I thought I would," Kupcho said. "Certainly, moving day, did not take full advantage of it. I still kept it together with what I had today and just want to go recover and come out, hopefully, and play well tomorrow."