LOS ANGELES (AP) — Cheyenne Knight shot a bogey-free 4-under 67 on Saturday to take a two-shot lead through three rounds of the LA Championship at Wilshire Country Club.
Knight was at 9-under 204 through 54 holes, and her best round of the week had special significance.
Knight made a 20-foot putt for eagle on the par-5 13th hole and birdied the par-4 17th to shoot 3-under 33 on the back nine. Her late brother, Brandon, who died in a car crash when Knight was 12, wore No. 33 while playing high school football in Texas.
Knight teared up when an LPGA official mentioned her back-nine score.
“It’s always special,” Knight said. “I have someone up there watching over me. He’s always with me.”
Hae Ran Ryu also shot 67 and was two shots back alongside Hannah Green, who shot 69. Knight and Green are the only players to have three rounds in the 60s at Wilshire.
Green played her first 12 holes in 3 over but birdied five of her last six.
“I thought the front was actually quite difficult. It was a little bit of a different wind direction, but it was also gusty, so picking the right moments for the club that you decide to hit was quite difficult,” Green said. “I knew there was some holes coming in that I could possibly make some birdies, but to birdie 17 and 18 was obviously a really great finish, and I’m really excited for tomorrow.”
Gemma Dryburgh birdied three of her first five holes, shot 66 and was three back. Xiyu Lin (66) and second-round leader Aditi Ashok (72) were another shot behind.
Knight, ranked No. 60 in the world, won her only LPGA Tour title in 2019 at the Volunteers of America Classic in her home state of Texas. The number 33 came up then, too. She shot 33 on each nine to close with a 66.
Now, she’s in good position for a second victory.
“I think nerves are normal,” Knight said. “I’m always going to be nervous and embrace the nerves. If you’re not nervous, it doesn’t mean anything to you. I’ll try to embrace the nerves. This is why I practice. I want to be in these positions. I want to give myself a chance on Sunday.”